Your government reeks of corruption, US Govt tells Buhari

April 1, 2021

The United States Government has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of “massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption”.

This was contained in a report filed by the Department of State of the United States titled “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria”.

In the report, the Department of State waved the fight against corruption touted by the President Buhari administration as inconsequential and painted a grim picture of corruption in Nigeria.

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It noted that, not only is the Government corrupt, but that lacks transparency and lacks the will power to implement the law.

The report said: “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not consistently implement the law, and government employees frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government, including the judiciary and security services.

“There were numerous allegations of government corruption during the year.

The United State attributed the impunity and corruption to the constitution which, it said, provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution for the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office.

The report noted that Nigeria has both the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), which “holds broad authorities to prosecute most forms of corruption, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) to fight financial and economic crimes, yet corruption permeates all strata of the society.

It recalled how during the year there was a high-profile investigation involving the former acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The anti-corruption czar made headlines when in July, authorities arrested him and charged him with various forms of corruption, including embezzlement.

The arrest and subsequent investigation led to Magu being suspended as acting EFCC chairman.

It also noted the various strides by the ICPC and EFCC including a raid in August 2019 that resulted in the arrest of 37 federal road safety officers and five civilian employees on charges of extortion.

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It further noted that as of December 2019, the EFCC had secured 890 convictions, a record during the year.

Other feats of the anti-corruption fight include the military conviction through court-martial and firing of a major general in connection with the 2019 reported theft of 400 million Naira in cash.

However, the report decried the fact that “the bulk of ICPC and EFCC anti-corruption efforts remained focused on low- and mid-level government officials” while the big fishes swim unscathed.

“In 2019 both organizations started investigations into, and brought indictments against, various active and former high-level government officials.

“Many of the corruption cases, particularly the high-profile ones, remained pending before the court due to administrative or procedural delays,” said the U’S’ Government.

Another sector whose corrupt practices did not escape notice was the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

NNPC, in June 2020, released audited 2018 financial statements, the first such release since its establishment in 1977.

The corporation also published audited accounts of its 20 subsidiaries and business divisions.

Nonetheless, it bears all the hallmarks of corruption in every inch of the edifice and its activities.

The U.S. government, though, acknowledged the various strides of the federal government to curb corruption, e.g., the launching of the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, commonly referred to as Open Treasury Portal, with the aim of increasing transparency and governmental accountability of funds transferred by making the daily treasury statement public.

“The Open Treasury Portal required all ministries, departments, and agencies to publish daily reports of payments greater than five million naira ($13,300).

“The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative [NEITI] and other anticorruption watchdog groups hailed the government for providing better access to government spending data,” it added.

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