Tinubu Bears Fang against Corruption

At his election, corruption was not the main focus of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s campaign; he was more concerned about the issues of insecurity, poverty alleviation among the poor, unemployment among Nigerian youths and other issues that concern the welfare of the ordinary people. 

Also, at the appointment of his Ministers, the President was silent on corruption matters; his charge to them was simply to be innovative, and come up with creative ideas that would provide solutions to the problems of the masses, as it related to their various Ministries. At a retreat for his Ministers and political appointees, his covenant with them was that they must be innovative or bow out.

Suddenly, the unexpected happened, when there was an anti-corruption whistle at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; it was a whistle against corruption at the Ministry. In the mess was the Minister, Dr. Betta Edu; she was alleged to have approved the payment of N585.189 million to a private account. It was also alleged that the money was meant for the vulnerable persons in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states.

It was the second anti-corruption whistle; the first was at the National Social Investment Programme Agency, (NSIPA), where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had earlier suspended its National Co-Ordinator, Halima Shehu, over alleged N44 billion frauds.

Not long after, the Code of Conduct Bureau invited the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to appear before it over the involvement of New Planet Project, a company he co-founded; in a N438 million contract by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. The company was reportedly alleged to have benefited from a N438 million contract as payment for consultancy fees.

The Code of Conduct Bureau, in a letter signed by the Director of Investigation and Monitoring, Gwimi S. P. and addressed to the Interior Minister stated that “the Bureau is investigating a case of alleged breach of Conduct for Public Officers in which your name featured prominently. Consequently, you are invited for an interview…”

The Code of Conduct Bureau investigation of the Minister of Interior was coming after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had directed a thorough investigation into the allegation against the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edun, over the alleged payment of N585 million into a private account and ordered her immediate suspension from office.

The first indication that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not tolerate corruption was the removal, arrest and detention of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele. Although no reasons were given for his arrest and detention, it became clear that the former CBN Governor had his fingers soiled with alleged various corruption deals while in office.

He was standing trial before Justice Hamza Muazu, on an amended 20 charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage and breach of trust among others, brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; including, allegedly, impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to illegally obtain a sum of $6.2 million on January 8 2023; forgery of the signature of former President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.

In what appeared to be a total anti-corruption war, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has revisited several other corruption cases, some of which may have been swept under the carpet. 

Consequently, the Commission had re-opened alleged money laundering cases amounting to about N853.8 billion against 13 former governors and ministers. For example, the EFCC reopened a case of $2.2 billion meant for arms procurement in the fight against terrorism, which was allegedly laundered, diverted and misappropriated under former President Goodluck Jonathan. A Presidential Committee, which investigated the arms procurement indicted former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki and others.

The EFCC also reopened the alleged $6 billion Mambila Power Project fraud in which former Minister of Power, Mines and Steel, Olu Agunloye was standing trial, among several other cases against former Ministers and Governors, which were abandoned inconclusively. 

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had reportedly vowed that all high-profile cases would be reviewed and revisited; while indicted former and serving public officials would not be overlooked. Acting Director of Public Affairs at the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren was reportedly, said, during a protest by Zamfara Alternative Forum at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja that the EFCC Chairman had reviewed all inherited high-profile cases, since he assumed office, and the Commission would investigate every indicted high-profile person. He assured that nobody was above the law and no case shall be swept under carpet.

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