It would be recalled that Punch newspaper recently reported that over N5 trillion in government funds have been stolen through fraud, embezzlement and theft since President Jonathan assumed office on May 6, 2010.
The investigation revealed the fraudulent activities carried out on a large scale in some ministries. The Ribadu report on the oil and gas sector for instance, put daily crude oil theft at a high 250,000 barrels daily at a cost of $6.3bn (N1.2trn) a year. This puts the total amount lost through oil theft in the two years of Jonathan’s government at over $12.6bn (N2trn).
However, reacting to this claim, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe said such claim “is gross misinformation and absolute falsehood.”
“Part of this mischief and attempt to bring opprobrium on this administration was the assertion by President of the Campaign for Democracy, CD, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin. She said N5 trillion was stolen under Jonathan, and that “the non-implementation of the Farouk Lawan report as well as the Nuhu Ribadu Presidential Task Force findings has completely killed the fight against corruption in Nigeria.”
“The above calls to question her respect for facts because it is a fact that the Lawan report has been handed over to the EFCC, and there are ongoing prosecution deriving from this, while the President just set up a White Paper committee on the Ribadu report. How do you implement a report without a white Paper?.
We reiterate that the conclusion that N5 trillion was stolen under President’s Jonathan’s watch is gross misinformation and absolute falsehood. Nowhere in the Ribadu was that conclusion reached. It never happened, and it is wholesomely untrue.
“We want to state categorically, for the umpteenth time that it was this administration that exposed the oil subsidy scam, pension scam, and also set up the Nuhu Ribadu committee to look into the rot in the oil sector.
“We must state that the fight against corruption is not a short boxing bout, but a long fight that will be systemic, strategic and institutional. The role of the judiciary in bringing culprits to justice cannot be underestimated in the war against corruption.
No matter the Federal Government’s commitment , the President has no power to jail any suspect by presidential fiat. Therefore he should not be made a scape goat for the failure of other arms of government who fail to judiciously discharge their responsibilities.
It is also not true that lack of funding is stalling the fight as concluded by Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption, Debo Adeniran. We must not forget what the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde said recently about how judges and lawyers stall trials of high profile suspects. The two trials of James Ibori in Nigeria and the United Kingdom fully underscore this point.
“The Federal Government, mindful of this judicial stumbling block, has put together a bill to reform the criminal justice system, so that justice will no longer be evaded through sundry abuses of court processes.
“We assure Nigerians that in spite of the persistent and perplexing mischief of deceitful politicians, and some unpatriotic Nigerians who never sees good in whatever government does, the administration will continue its unrelenting fight to rid our society of this menace.
This is a war the President has set for himself and he has demonstrated the will and capability to prosecute same.