Declare State of Emergency in Kogi now, CHRICED Urges

Declare State of Emergency in Kogi now, CHRICED Urges

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The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called for the declaration of a state of emergency in Kogi.

The Centre said the call became pertinent following the drama that ensued following recent attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apprehend Mr. Yahaya Bello for his alleged embezzlement of over N84 billions of Kogi State funds.

According to a statement by its Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullah, the Centre also noted with deep concern the reprehensible actions of Kogi State Governor, Mr. Ahmed Usman Ododo, who abused his official immunity to shield Yahaya Bello from arrest.

“It is reported that Yahaya Bello, who is currently a fugitive on EFCC’s wanted list, is being harbored at the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja by Governor Ododo”, he said.

He said, while they appreciate the efforts made so far by the EFCC in pursuing the case against Yahaya Bello, CHRICED unequivocally condemns Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo’s interference in thwarting Bello’s arrest, which goes against his sworn oath of office.

“We also denounce the Kogi State Assembly for hastily passing a resolution urging the EFCC to remove Yahaya Bello from its wanted list.

These actions highlight the entrenched corruption and impunity in Kogi State, a state grappling with severe challenges such as unpaid pensions, delayed salaries for workers, and lack of infrastructural development”.

“Regrettably, corruption has emerged as a severe epidemic that Nigerians have been grappling with in recent times. The plague of corruption has continued to ravage the lives of citizens.

It is one of the major tragedies of our country that the All-Progressive congress (APC), which came into office in 2015 on the pretext that it was ready to fight corruption, has sunk neck-deep into the same corruption it claimed it was ready to fight.

Consequently, the APC administration has lost its way, leaving the national and state treasuries at the mercy of the very mindless and unscrupulous looters, that the Nigerian citizens had hoped to see removed from all levels of governance.

As a matter of fact, in the struggle between anti-corruption forces and apologists of corruption, it is evident that corruption is winning. The term “anti-corruption fight” has become nothing more than a mere facade.

The loss of political will, and the serious collapse of the moral ground on which the APC administration would have fought corruption to a decisive end is seen from the party’s act of condoning clearly corrupt characters within its own fold.

If this were not the case, the shocking revelations from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the serious allegations against former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the numerous instances of his potential conflicts of interest in handling legal matters related to the recovered Abacha loot, the interference to obstruct the EFCC from investigating and prosecuting high-profile cases, the infamous Gandollar scandal in Kano, the padding of constituency budgets by the National Assembly, and most recently, the seven senior officers who were implicated in accepting bribes worth billions of Naira and yet continue to hold influential positions within the customs hierarchy, would have seen many big thieves cooling their heels in cells of anti-corruption agencies, in readiness for judgment day at the courts.

Corruption, in all its forms, undermines public trust and undermines the social contract. If unchecked, corruption alienates citizens from the governance process. Therefore, CHRICED urges Nigerians to take a greater interest in governance by demanding accountability in the use of public funds for projects administered by local, state, and federal governments. It is crucial for citizens to get involved, as the constitutional mandate, which directs the State to abolish all forms of corrupt practices will remain a pipedream, if citizens do not get involved.

CHRICED calls on President Tinubu to take decisive action against corruption and leave a legacy. We urge the President to issue an ultimatum to Governor Ododo, demanding the surrender of Yaha Bello to the EFCC. Failure to comply should result in the declaration of a state of emergency in Kogi State. History has shown that punishment, in order to serve as a deterrent, must be severe. It is better to be strict with one individual and save the lives and well-being of many, rather than being lenient with all and causing harm to a larger population. Just like a skilled surgeon who does not hesitate to amputate a diseased limb to save the entire body, President Tinubu must be resolute in the fight against corruption.

We can draw lessons from countries like Arabia and China, where the implementation of strict punishments, such as cutting off hands and death for theft, has significantly reduced incidents of stealing. These countries demonstrate that a zero-tolerance approach towards stealing can effectively deter such crimes”.

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