The group demanded prosecution of suspects
By Ezenwa Nwagwu
A group, Say No Campaign, SNC, has decried Federal Government’s non-compliance and effective implementation of some transparency laws in the country, saying it was capable of denying Nigerians good governance.
The group specifically lamented the refusal of the government to inaugurate the Public Procurement Council, contained in the Public Procurement Act 2007, despite several resolutions by the National Assembly requesting it to do so.
It also regretted the failure by many government agencies to comply with the Freedom of Information (FoI) law, which it claimed had continued to deny Nigerians their rights to obtain public records.
SNC, in a statement on Tuesday, which was jointly signed by its Convener, Ezenwa Nwagwu, and three others- Awwal Rafsanjani, Samson Itodo and Jaye Gaskia- said the refusal to comply with the laws appeared to be encouraged by President Goodluck Jonathan.
It said, “We are concerned that this current administration continues to violate and disrespect those laws that would improve and increase transparency and good governance in Nigeria.
“Of particular case is the refusal to inaugurate the Public Procurement Council which is in gross violent violation of the Public Procurement Act 2007. This is in spite that fact that the National Assembly has severally passed resolution demanding for its inauguration. This refusal leads to constant abuse and outright looting in the procurement in Nigeria.
“Again, lack of compliance by many government agencies with the Freedom of Information law continued to denies Nigerians their rights to obtain public records. The impunity demonstrates by the public officials appears to be encourage by the President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The group also recalled that Nigeria had conducted audit reports on the oil sector from 1999-2011, including the ones by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, but noted with dismay that all the recommendations for remediation to improve the sector had not been taken seriously by the Jonathan administration.
It expressed concern that many people reportedly collected or paid money on fuel subsidy but never delivered and yet nothing had been done to recover the money.
It noted in particular the shocking revelation of how billions of naira belonging to SURE-P allegedly disappeared in the hand of public officials, but had not been recovered.
SNC slammed the Nigerian authorities for not embracing the Open Government Partnership, OGP, which was launched by world leaders since 2011 to ensure good governments’ commitment to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and use new technologies to strengthen governance.
According to the group, “The decision to deny Nigeria membership of the Open Government Partnership is a big disgrace to the image of a country like Nigeria that prides itself as the giant of Africa.
“The denial is a clear indication that the Goodluck administration has not demonstrated sufficient will and commitment to the fight against corruption and impunity.”
On extra budgetary spending, SNC noted that spending public funds outside the precincts of the statutory budgetary appropriation had become a recurring decimal in public finance management in Nigeria, adding that it had increased the country’s debt burden.
It stated further, “While government claims to record a purported simultaneous growth in our foreign reserves, we continue to incur monthly deficits in our budget system.
“No doubt this monster fuels the embers of corruption and other despicable forms of underhand dealings in the public sector.
“SNC is concerned that should this go unabated, Nigeria will witness deeper financial crisis capable of pulverizing the nation’s economy.”
On pension scams, the group described as “great injustice” a situation where hardworking Nigerians who dedicated the better years of their lives to the service of the nation were left to live like paupers in hopelessness.
The SNC stated that the country’s utter disregard and lack of compassion for the senior citizens showed its disrespect for generational preservation and history.
It recalled, “The Nigerian governments vowed to arrest and prosecute the culprits involved in the scam. Till date, we have not witnessed any prosecution, conviction or remedy awarded in favor of these honorable Nigerians that served our great country.
“Paying lip-service to the arrest and prosecution of culprits is not peculiar to the Pension scam; we have the fuel subsidy scam which till date has no fruitful outcome of prosecuted culprits.
“The ongoing armored car saga seems to have generated the same upbeat as other scams. Nigerians fear that it will die a natural death like every other pertinent issue that questions the quality of governance and leadership in Nigeria.”