Public office holders who ought to have stepped aside

Public office holders who ought to have stepped aside

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6:19 pm


Public office holders in Nigeria have simply lost the sense of shame even when accused of serious violations of public trust and the responsibility of their offices. They simply sit tight. TheNEWS parades  some of the men and woman, who no longer have any claim to their positions and who ought to have stepped aside

Though last Thursday was meant to be a day for celebration of workers in Nigeria, the countrywide ceremony was tempered by bewildering concerns over the fate of the 234 girls kidnapped at Government Girls’ Secondary School, in Chibok, Borno State and the general state of insecurity in the country, what with the 14 April ghastly bombing at Nyanya Bus Terminus, in the Federal capital of Abuja.

Protests and marches calling for the release of the abducted girls resonated at rallies organised to mark the Labour Day at all stadia across the country.

And as if to underscore how seriously anomic the nation had slipped, another bomb went off again in the same Nyanya, claiming no fewer than 12 lives. It happened close to a checkpoint mounted by Nigeria’s military, once again questioning the efficiency of the security apparati that the nation spends close to N1trillion yearly.

In saner and civilised climes, President Goodluck Jonathan’s table ought to be flooded with the resignation letters of the motley security chiefs, that keep disappointing their nation in the services rendered, the way the Indian Prime Minister, Shivraj Patil and the security adviser, MK Narayanan, did after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

But here in Nigeria, it’s a different ball game. Public officers don’t have shame, no sense of responsibility. They love public office and the perks alone, not the burden of duty and accountability that goes with them.
Public anger mounted last week against this official impunity.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria boycotted the May Day rally at the Eagle Square, Abuja, to show solidarity with parents of the abducted girls. Babatunde Ogun, President of PENGASSAN, said the inability of the security agencies to rescue the girls many days after their abduction was worrisome. He added that government must ensure that the girls are rescued and reunited with their parents and guardians as soon as possible.

And for the better part of last week, emotions were on a roller coaster across the country as parents of the 234 girls kidnapped students agonised, three weeks after their children were cruelly abducted from their school by members of the insurgent group, Boko Haram. Though there was no tangible information from the government on the fate of the girls or efforts being made to rescue them as at last Wednesday, the rumour mill was however busy about reported sightings, and locations of the abducted girls and what was happening to them.

The palpable frustrations, anger, hopelessness and most importantly, fear of the parents about the seeming inaction of government on the abducted girls were evident at a protest rally attended by scores of parents and relatives of the children as well as other sympathisers in Abuja last Tuesday. Dressed in black to signify the trauma they have been going through since the abduction, the parents were also armed with different placards urging government to take urgent action to bring the teenagers back home. “Nigeria, come to the rescue of our girls”; “Mr. President, rescue our girls”; “A vacuum has been created, save our daughters please”, read some of the emotional messages on the placards carried by the mothers.

“May God curse every one of those who have failed to free our girls,” Enoch Mark, whose daughter and two nieces were among the abducted girls, said as he joined the protesters in a procession to the National Assembly. “It is painful that our children were carried away into the wilderness over 15 days now like cows to be slaughtered and since then, we have not heard anything from government,” Mrs. Naomi Mukhtar, the leader of the group told Senators Helen Esuene, Zainab Kure, Barnabas Gemade and Ali Ndume who received the women at the National Assembly on behalf of Senate President David Mark. “If our children are dead, where are their bodies? Let us see their bodies. For the past two weeks, nobody has come to us. We are dying in silence. Where is the international community? We need their assistance,” Mrs. Mukhtar pleaded.

Just as the mothers protested outside, lawmakers who resumed from a three-week recess on the same Tuesday also agonised about the plight of the girls and failure of the military to rise up to expectation by rescuing them from their abductors . There was another nationwide protest over the abducted girls in Abuja, led by Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former minister of education. The former minister promised that her group would continue the protests daily until the girls are brought back.

After a welcoming speech in which Mark called for a total war against the Boko Haram insurgents, the Senate devoted its three hours sitting to discussing the issue of the abducted girls based on the motion on the issue moved by the Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba. Senator Ahmed Zannah, whose senatorial district covers the area where the girls were abducted, gave his colleagues the unpleasant news that a majority of the girls had been married out to the insurgents and were scattered in villages and towns in and around Chad and Cameroon.

The senator said he had been passing information about the movement of the girls, who he said were being constantly moved from one place to the other after two or three days, to the security agencies. “Unless there is a renewed seriousness on the part of our military, we have no hope of getting those girls. Even if we are going to get them, it may be two, three, four or five at a time. They are now scattered. So it is not possible for us to get 50, 60 or 100 in a particular place,” the Borno senator warned.

The senators’ charge of tardiness against the military in handling reports about the abducted girls was further amplified by Ali Ndume, another Borno senator, who explained how the initial military attempt at rescue was botched: “We heard of their activities immediately and we informed the military but unfortunately, while the abductors escaped with the girls through the eastern part of the area, the military pursued them towards the west.”
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that his administration has put every security agency on alert with a view to rescuing the abducted school girls from Government Secondary Schools, Chibok, Borno State, northeast Nigeria. He stated this when the delegation of 22 Senators met him in Aso Rock last Wednesday.

The Senate delegation was led by the Senate President, Senator David Mark and it included Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Boluwaji Kunlere and others.

According to Ojudu the delegation told the President that Nigerians are not happy that the girls have been abducted and that there seems to be no particular response from the Federal Government. According to him, the meeting was a frank one where members of the delegation conveyed the fears of the people over the matter to the president. “The President assured that all security agencies have been put on alert while every step is being taken to ensure that all the girls are not only rescued but also returned safe and sound to their parents,” said Senator Ojudu.

The House of Representatives had at an equally emotionally charged session discussed various issues related to the abduction of the girls, with the lawmakers resolving at the end to invite Nigeria’s military chiefs to brief them on the efforts they were making to find the abducted girls as well as the challenges hampering them from doing so. The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to engage sub-regional, regional and international organisations in the fight against the insurgents. And last Wednesday, few hours after he addressed protesters calling on government to free the abducted girls, Mark led 21 senators to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. All they got however from the president was the usual platitude: the security agencies being on red alert, mapping out a rescue mission.

On its part, the military insisted that it was doing everything possible to rescue the girls, including making use of every bit of information available to it. Channel 4, a United Kingdom-based television channel, had reported last week that a hostage negotiator has been employed to broker a deal for the release of the girls. The television station did not state who the negotiator was working for. “The girls, we believe, are alive but they have been moved from the location to which they were originally taken,” the television station quoted the hostage negotiator, who, it said, has had a long experience of dealing directly with Boko Haram in previous hostage crises, as saying.

The television station also said some members of the sect were arguing over what to do with the girls, who were being forcibly married off with a bride price of just N2,000 after they had been converted to Islam. The negotiator, who claimed the Nigeria military knew where the insurgents were keeping the girls, however said using force to rescue them may prove fatal.

While government sources refused to confirm or deny this claim as at the time of writing this story last week, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the Chief of Defence Staff, confirmed that the military was aware of where the girls were being kept by their abductors. “Where we are told that they are, we can’t go there with our armoury, otherwise we will go and kill them. If you go and kill them, then you will not have achieved anything. But I know we will get those girls. I know we will get them,” the CDS said while playing host to Peter Idabor, the Director-General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA.

But the parents can’t wait. Some of them are even suggesting that the President should lead the rescue effort. The parents of the girls noted that if it were in other countries, the girls would have been rescued a long time ago. In a motion that did not receive the support of his colleagues, a lawmaker in the House of Representatives had argued last week that Nigeria’s military chiefs should resign if they were unable to get the girls out within a week.

Analysts however said there are many public officials who, going by the culture of decency and examples in other places, should have long turned in their resignation letters as they have failed in their duties.


Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh

Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh
When he was appointed the Chief of Defence Staff in January this year, there were high hopes that Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh would lead a more vigorous war that would rout the insurgent Boko Haram and other criminal groups that were killing Nigerians in scores daily, especially across states in the North-East of the country.

The CDS, a former Chief of Air Staff, had survived the purge of the other service chiefs to emerge as the top man in the Nigerian military echelon. Analysts had attributed the purge to the desire of the Jonathan administration to inject new ideas and introduce fresh tactics in the war against Boko Haram and other related security challenges.

Badeh, who was was born in Vimtim, Mubi North local government area, Adamawa State, on 10 January 1957, was admitted into the Nigeria Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on 3 January 1977, and was commissioned pilot officer on 3 July 1979. He was promoted air vice-marshal on 3 January 2008. He has attended various flying courses in and outside Nigeria in addition to training at the prestigious Armed Forces Command and Staff College and the National War College. The CDS holds an M.Sc of University of Ibadan in Strategic Studies and has held many top-flight appointments.

With such a rich resume, Nigerians had expected that the security challenges confronting the country would soon be a thing of the past. The new CDS had further raised hopes when, on 20 January, he declared that that the security situation in the North-East would be brought to a halt before April 2014 in order to prevent a constitutional problem; in obvious reference to the state of emergency imposed on the area to facilitate the war against the Boko Haram terrorists that was due to expire later that month. The state of emergency, which was first imposed on Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States mid last year, lapses every six months and has been renewed once.

Some members of the National Assembly had indicated that they would not be favourably disposed to the renewal of the emergency if the President requested for it. But Badeh said it was not the intention of the military chiefs to go lobbying the National Assembly for anything. “The security situation in the North-East must be brought to a complete stop before April 2014. We must bring it to a stop before April so that we will not have constitutional problems on our hands. We don’t want to go back to the Senate to start begging and lobbying. If we do our work cohesively, I can tell you, General [Kenneth] Minimah, [Chief of Army Staff], you will finish your work in no time,” the CDS said while taking over from his predecessor, Admiral Ola Ibrahim.

Though the Defence Headquarters later clarified in a press that the remarks by the CDS were meant to motivate commanders, and troops, to work harder toward restoration of normalcy as envisaged in the states under emergency rule, Badeh had also during his swearing-in early February, promised President Jonathan that the new set of Service Chiefs would deploy new strategies to bring the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East to an end before the general elections in 2015. But contrary to that promise, insurgency and related security challenges have worsened under Badeh. Some statistics indicated that over 2,000 Nigerians have been killed in various attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the first three months of the appointment of the new service chiefs. This is in addition to hundreds of others that have been slaughtered in attacks attributed to herdsmen.


Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh

Lt. General Kenneth Minimah
Just like that of the CDS, the appointment of General Minimah as Chief of Army Staff was generally perceived as part of the move to intensify war against the insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country and related challenges. Reports indicated that about 30 senior officers were by-passed in appointing him, and many Nigerians believed that as a member of the Infantry Corps, Minimah, was well placed to lead the war against terror, compared to his predecessor, who belonged to the Engineering Corps.

Born on 27 July 1959, General Minimah joined the Army as a member of the Nigeria Defence Academy’s 25th Regular Course and was the Commander of Nigerian Army Infantry Corps, Jaji, Kaduna State until his appointment as COAS. This magazine also gathered that the appointment of Minimah generated excitement among soldiers, especially those at the forefront of the war against the terrorists in the North-East, where some army barracks and Air Force bases have come under heavy attack by the insurgents.

The troops also believed that with Minimah in charge, delayed payment of the operational allowances would be a thing of the past. His appointment was thus regarded by many Nigerians as a round peg in a round hole.

At a farewell ceremony organised in his honour in Jaji by the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps in March, the COAS assured the nation that the Army would live up to its responsibility by crushing the Boko Haram insurgency. He promised that to achieve this feat, his administration would make the issue of training, procurement of more equipment and improved welfare of soldiers top on its priorities. He subsequently charged the soldiers to redouble their efforts towards winning the war against terrorism. During his visit to troops in Maiduguri some days earlier, Minimah talked tough, advising members of Boko Haram to embrace dialogue or get crushed by the military.

“The dialogue table is still open, or else the federal might is available to the armed forces to crush the insurgency,” the COAS, who was accompanied on the routine visit by the Chief of Air Staff, told newsmen. While he explained that the visit was aimed at assessing the condition of troops on ground as well as boosting their morale in the fight against the insurgents, the COAS urged Nigerians to trust the capability of the military to bring an end to the insurgency. Since he assumed office, the military, through the Directorate of Defence Information has been very active dishing out information of the successes the country is recording in the war against terrorist and other allied security challenges.

But those claims of success have been countered by the successes of the insurgents in the execution of daring, frontal attacks on military barracks and other public institutions. Some of the major attacks attributed to the insurgents in the first three months of the year include the 26 January Boko Haram attack on a Catholic church in Waga Chakawa in Adamawa which resulted in death of 30 worshippers, the over 115 people killed in just two communities in Borno and Adamawa states in the first month of the year. Also, on 11 February, the terrorists killed over 67 people in Konduga in Borno State and at least, another 146 Nigerians during an attack on Izghe, Gwoza Local Government of the same state.

The insurgent group also also killed 43 pupils on 25 February, when it attacked the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State. On the first day of March, twin bomb blasts by Boko Haram left 52 people dead in Maiduguri and while rescue operations were on at the scene of the blasts, another set of the insurgents attacked Mainok, a village about 50km from Maiduguri, killing 39.

The next day, 35 persons – 32 civilians and three policemen – were killed during a fierce gunfight between insurgents and soldiers in Mafa, a community 4km east of Maiduguri while on 4 March, the violent sect attacked Jakana, a village about 35km from Maiduguri, where 40 persons were killed. The insurgent group had earlier, on 14 March, launched a daring attack on the famous Giwa Barracks in Fori neighbourhood of Maiduguri, which resulted in the death of scores of soldiers and the terrorists.
The insurgent group claimed it was able to free its operatives in detention at the heavily fortified barracks during the attack. But the military denied this, arguing instead that the terrorists’ attempt was in response to the intensity of attacks on their strongholds in camps at Talala, Monguzum, Sambisa Forsts, Gwoza, Mandara mountains as well as the general area of Lake Chad.

The most recent embarrassment to the nation was the kidnap of the over 200 students in Chibok, an incident that many are now pointing to as indicative of the fact that claims of successes by the military in the fight against the insurgents may have been flukes. Unfortunately, the military added to the embarrassment when it claimed to have rescued all but eight of the abducted girls, a claim that was promptly denied by the Chibok school principal. Just like it happened in Chibok, eyewitnesses of attacks by the insurgents have always claimed that soldiers failed to respond to their calls for help or abandoned their posts just before the arrival of the terrorists or on sighting the terrorists.

The military has always denied this allegation, even as it emphasised that there was no way soldiers could cover every inch of ground in the areas affected by the insurgency. There have also been allegations that contrary to his promise, the tenure of Minimah has not been better, at least so far, in terms of welfare and fighting equipment for the troops. But the COAS has insisted that the was taking care of its men according to stipulations and resources available to it. But the fact remains that the COAS is still trying to live up to his promise of crushing the insurgents.


Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar

Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, Inspector-General of Police
In the statement issued on his behalf by Frank Mba, his spokesperson, in the aftermath of the bombing at Nyanya, Abuja, which claimed over 75 lives and injured over 100 others, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police, urged Nigerians to maintain a united front against the evil of terrorism in the country.

Abubakar advised the citizenry to ignore political, religious and sectional differences and to give the expected support to security agencies, who he said were adopting ‘stronger measures to review current security strategies and strengthen the safety of all parts of the country’. While the Police chief is in the habit of talking tough, such promises are not usually backed by appropriate action.

For example, Abubakar had told students of a secondary school in Abuja who visited him after the insurgent attack on Federal Government College, Bunu Yadi in Yobe State during which about 29 students were killed, that security agencies were collaborating and strategising to ensure that no child loses his or her life in the course of pursuing their education. But the situation on ground does not edify that promise. Many believe that if the police had been up and doing, carrying out their constitutional responsibilities, they would have been able to stop many bombings and other forms of terrorism before they were carried out.

When Abubakar was appointed the Inspector-General of Police in January 2012, expectation was high that he would leverage on his experience to turn around the Police Force.

Few months before then, Boko Haram had in a spectacular fashion in Abuja attempted to kill his predecessor, Hafiz Ringim, by ramming a rigged car into his convoy as he drove into the expansive compound of the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, less than a kilometre away from Aso Rock presidential villa.

Ringim attracted the attention of the insurgents when he boasted after receiving some operational vehicles some days before the attack that he would totally vanquish Boko Haram within few days. Though the insurgents did not kill Ringim, they succeeded in killing about 10 people and destroying over 70 vehicles. The insurgent group had, a month before the appointment of Abubakar, carried out a daylight attack that led to the death of over 200 Nigerians in Kano city.

During that attack the group targeted police station, killing many officers and setting free many of its members in detention. It would be recalled that Boko Haram insurgency was the outcome of the clash between the Police and members of the sect in Maiduguri which led to the death of the founder Yusuf Mohammed in 2009. Thus, the President had indicated that the appointment of Abubakar was the “first step towards comprehensive reorganisation and repositioning of the Nigeria Police Force to make it more effective and capable of meeting emerging security internal challenges”.

Many believed then that Abubakar, who joined the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, as a Cadet Inspector in August 1979 and has served in different capacities such as Commissioner of Police in Plateau, Abia, Kwara, Kano, Airport and Lagos State Police Commands and Assistant Inspector-General in-charge of Zones 2, 5, 12, was suitable for the job. In spite of his glittering resume, however, IGP Abubakar, like his predecessors, has failed to pull up the Nigeria Police to perform its constitutionally assigned role of providing efficient and effective internal security of life and property of citizens and detection of crimes.

While the Police should ordinarily be at the forefront in the task of combating terrorism, the law enforcement agency has taken a back seat, yielding the space to the armed forces, which ordinarily should be concerned about external threats to Nigeria. The police have failed in its duty of preventing violent crimes and mass slaughter perpetrated by insurgent groups and ethnic militias in Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Kaduna, Bauchi, Nassarawa and Benue states in the northern part of the country, among others.
Also, insurgents attack police stations and kill officers at their whim, especially in remote areas. Last year, ethnic militias killed over 70 policemen, including an Assistant Commissioner in Nasarawa State without any reprisal, at least in the form of arrest of the culprits till now. The police authorities have done little to mitigate the risks to which their men serving in such areas are exposed in terms of welfare and equipment.

Director-General, State Security Services, Ita-Ekpenyong

Director-General, State Security Services, Ita-Ekpenyong

Ita-Ekpenyong – Director-General, State Security Services
The SSS, also known as the Department of State Services, DSS, is the primary domestic intelligence agency of Nigeria. It has the primary responsibility of intelligence gathering within the country and for the protection of senior government officials, particularly the President and state governors, and operates as a department within the presidency under the control of the National Security Adviser.

The SSS also has the responsibility of protecting and defending the country against domestic threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of Nigeria, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to both federal and state law-enforcement organs. This constitutional role placed the SSS at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and other internal uprising in Nigeria. In the performance of this duty, the Service said it has been constantly been engaged in devising new strategies to counter evolving security threats of terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria.

For example, speaking at a ceremony during the passing out parade and commissioning of 385 members of the Cadet Officers Basic Course 27 in Lagos last year, Ita Ekpenyong, the Director-General of SSS, declared that the intelligence agency has dislodged, decimated and disrupted the chain of command of Boko Haram terrorist organisation to the level that the insurgent group has become incapacitated. “We can confidently say that we have decimated terrorists’ top and middle level leadership and its foot soldiers thereby dislodging its centre of gravity… Consequently, we have been in the forefront in the war against terrorism,” said Ekpeyong, who attributed the feat to the intelligence agency’s huge investments in human capacity development.

Though the intelligence organisation has been successful in disrupting terrorist cells, especially in settlements close to Abuja like Suleja and Zuba and arresting key operatives of the agency, some of whom have been successfully tried and jailed, many however argued that the two recent bomb attacks by Boko Haram in Abuja and the continued killings by the insurgent group in North-East, the abduction of students in Chibok as well as assaults by ethnic militias across the country are evidence that the DSS DG’s proclamation of victory over Boko Haram was made too soon. The contention is that if the Service had lived up to its duty of gathering intelligence, the activities of the insurgent group would have been curtailed by now.


National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki

Sambo Dasuki- National Security Adviser
Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) came into office as the National Security Adviser in June 2012 with hopes that his pedigree as a Sokoto prince combined with his military training and contacts among the leadership of Northern Nigeria would be useful in the dousing the raging insurgency of Boko Haram and inter-ethnic crises that were claiming scores of lives then in Plateau State.

The NSA has the responsibility of coordinating the various intelligence agencies of government and advising the President on intelligence and security matters. The NSA also has the responsibility of directing the appropriate agencies on the production of intelligence on any subject of interest to the country as may be directed by the President or the National Defence and Security Council.

The office of the NSA is mandated to ensure the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy, build capacity for the effective discharge of the functions of relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement and military services under the act and do such other acts or things that are necessary for the effective performance of the function of the relevant security and enforcement agencies under the Act.

In line with the duties of his office, the Sokoto Prince had immediately after his appointment embarked on visits to Maiduguri, Damaturu, Potiskum and others places regarded as the epicentre of the insurgency with the aim of reaching out and convincing the terrorists to stop their way against the country. He subsequently announced that a peace deal with the insurgents was imminent as he was able to get the telephone numbers of their key leaders.

But members of Boko Haram wasted no time in denying meeting with the NSA and nothing was heard of the supposed peace deal again by the public. What is however certain is that Boko Haram transformed from being just a terrorist group contented with carrying out suicide bombing and gun attacks on civilian and security targets to full fledged insurgent group within one year of Sambo’s appointment. The group had by May 2013 driven away local government chiefs, successfully closed down police stations, schools and other public offices and were flying their flags and preaching openly in over 20 towns in Borno State by May, 2013.

The group was bold enough to attempt a takeover of an Army Barracks in Bama and during an operation it also destroyed the town’s police station, prison and abducted some officers. The Federal Government had to declare a state of emergency to enable the military chase out the insurgents in June 2013. The insurgents are still holding on to some of the areas they occupied at the time.

In addition to this was the proliferation of ethnic militias like the Ombatse cult, the ‘Fulani herdsmen’ and other mercenaries using sophisticated weapons to kill Nigerians in dozens across Nigeria. The fact that Nigeria is still battling insurgency and the argument on whether to extend the state of emergency imposed on the North-East states last year in evidence that the NSA has failed to live up to his responsibility.

Abba Moro

Comrade Abba Moro – Minister of Internal Affairs

Comrade Abba Moro – Minister of Internal Affairs
One member of the Federal Executive Council who many Nigerians believe should have long been booted out is Comrade Abba Moro, the Minister of Internal Affairs. The former Benue State local government chairman presided over the tragic recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, held all over the country in March.

The badly organised recruitment exercise during which thousands of applicants were massed at stadia across the country resulted in deaths of about 17 persons, including pregnant mothers, during stampede to get into the stadium to collect the papers for the employment examination. Seven job applicants lost their lives in a stampede at the overcrowded 60,000 capacity Abuja National Stadium. There were also deaths of applicants in Benin, Port Harcourt, Kano and a couple of other recruitment centres. Investigations later revealed that the Minister of Interior, to the exclusion of the authorities of the NIS, had employed a consultant who collected N1,000 each from over 520,000 applicants for 4,556 vacancies.

This was done in flagrant disobedience of the directive by the House of Representatives that government agencies should desist from charging applicants taking part in recruitment exercises. Moro had attributed the deaths to the applicants’ “impatience” in his reaction to the tragedy. “The applicants lost their lives due to impatience; they did not follow the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise…,” the Minister said. A group of Nigerians had in a petition faulted the Minister’s defence while calling for his sack: “The effort by the Minister responsible for citizenship in Nigeria to blame the victims rather than take responsibility shows a callous disregard for the lives of Nigerians incompatible with his high Ministerial brief,” said the group, which added that Moro and the Controller-General of Immigration, Mr. David Shikfu Parradang, be immediately relieved of their positions while a criminal investigation should be launched into the deaths of the jobseekers.

However in utter display of shamelessness associated with Nigerian public officials, Comrade Moro insisted that he would not resign ,as “his background does not permit him to run away from problems”.


Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke

Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources
Different allegations of improprieties have trailed Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, especially since her appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Goodluck Jonathan. For instance, the report of the Malam Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force asked government to investigate the various crude oil transactions and oil block deals carried out under her watch. There were also the controversies of over-payment of fuel subsidies to importers who did not import or who diverted the products, as indicated in the report of Aigboje Aig- Imokhuede Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidies. And there is still to be resolved accusation of missing $20 billion in the accounts of NNPC made by former Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi few months ago.

Of late, the Petroleum Minister has been in the news over a controversy that she spent over N10 billion for the charter of private jets for officials and private use on the bill of NNPC for the past two years. The House of Representatives had last March mandated its committee on Public Accounts to probe the allegations contained in a petition by an NGO. While the minister may not have been found guilty of the accusations yet, most Nigerians are however not comfortable with her move to use the courts to stop the probe.

In a suit she filed at an Abuja High Court ahead of the committee sitting due to begin last Tuesday, the minister had asked the the court to make an order of interim injunction restraining the National Assembly and the House of Representatives, “whether by themselves, their members, committees or agents from summoning or directing the appearance of the applicants before any committee particularly the Public Accounts Committee set up by the House of Representatives…”

The minister also asked the court to stop the committee from asking her or any official of the ministry or the NNPC to produce any papers, notes or other documents or give any evidence in line with a letter from the House of Representatives dated 26 March 2014, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice and an order of interim injunction restraining the National Assembly and the House of Representatives from issuing a warrant to compel her attendance, or the attendance of any official of the ministry or the NNPC, with regard to the investigation into the lease of aircrafts by the Corporation, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. For now, the court has declined to grant her the injunction she needs to stop the House investigation.

The South Korea Example
The resignation last week of South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won amid criticism of the government’s handling of the sinking of a passenger ferry has provided a contrasting example for Nigerians about the attitude of government officials to responsibilities they are saddled with.

In turning in his resignation, Mr. Hong-Won had indicated that the “cries of the families of those missing still keep me up at night”.
The Seoul ferry with 476 people on board – most of them students and teachers – sank on 16 April. 187 passengers of the ferry have been confirmed dead, while many others are missing, presumed drowned.

Just like in the case of the abducted Nigerian students, inaccurate information on the numbers of rescued passengers and those missing angered distraught parents and relatives of the victims of the ferry disaster, who also complained about the slowness of the recovery operation.

Prime Minister Hong-Won, along with the Coast Guard chief, was in charge of the rescue operation. “The right thing for me to do is to take responsibility and resign as a person who is in charge of the cabinet. On behalf of the government, I apologise for many problems, from the prevention of the accident to the early handling of the disaster,” Chung said in a brief televised statement. “There have been so many varieties of irregularities that have continued in every corner of our society and practices that have gone wrong. I hope these deep-rooted evils get corrected this time and this kind of accident never happens again,” he added.
Also, the country’s president, Park Geun-Hye, apologised to her countrymen over the disaster.

The Willy Brandt Example
In 1974, Willy Brandt, a former Chancellor of the defunct Federal Republic of Germany, resigned after it was discovered that one of his personal assistants, Günter Guillaume, was a spy for the East German intelligence services.

In November 2008, Indian Home Minister, Shivraj Patil and national security adviser, M.K. Narayanan, submitted their resignations in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

The two top officials had come under pressure over their inability to prevent the militant strike in which at least 172 died. Many Indians had in a series of protests affirmed that authorities should have been more prepared for the attacks and also questioned whether warnings were ignored, and how long it took commandos to reach the scenes of the attacks.

These are the usual questions usually raised after each terror attack in Nigeria.

The home minister had in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted “owning moral responsibility” for the attacks.
But some Nigerians have always been courageous enough to turn in the towel when caught on the wrong side of the law.
As the Chairman of Public Complaints Commission in the 1970s, the late Tai Solarin resigned after he was unable to produce his vehicle licence after he was stopped by a cop.

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