“In Nigeria, corruption doesn’t just pollute the system, it is the system” Time Magazine, April 25, 2011. Page 28.
Yes, Oladimeji Bankole (Ex Speaker, of the House of Representatives) was arrested for corruption, but to achieve a balance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should also arrest other top politicians who have stolen massively from the public treasury. Our security agencies cannot claim ignorance of the free movement of other heavily corrupt politicians in Nigeria. Another question is, under what condition(s) did the ex speaker obtain those fraudulent loans from the bank(s). It might also be interesting to beam searchlight on the bank(s) involved.
Arresting Bankole or other corrupt politicians might not make any impact, if the Nigerian system continues to treat corrupt people kindly. “The greatest incitement to crime is the hope of escaping punishment” Marcus Cicero. This is more prevalent in Nigeria. The system rewards and recognizes corrupt people. In most cases, prison sentences are mere Childs play. Former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun was convicted of N20 Billion naira fraud and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former MD/CEO of Oceanic Bank was jailed 6months for stealing N54 billion naira. Olabode George committed a fraud of over N85 billion naira in Nigeria, and was given only 2.5 years (two and half years jail sentence). Bankole might even not get conviction, talk less of sentence. Remember James Ibori (Ex Governor) of Delta State was discharged and acquitted in Nigeria only to be arrested in Dubai and extradited to UK for the similar offences he committed in Nigeria.
The list of corrupt cases in Nigeria is endless and there is no end in sight. Time Magazine is right to say that in Nigeria, corruption doesn’t just pollute the system, it is the system. “The World Bank estimates the country’s generals and gangster politicians stole $300 billion in the three decades to 2006”(Time Magazine, May 3rd 2010 Edition, Page 42). Who knows the figures stolen from 2007 till date? One thing is obvious; the level of corruption in Nigeria will certainly make development of our country near impossible. Preventing corruption should be a top priority. The authorities should also take punishing corrupt people seriously. The author wants to be proven wrong, that the present government might not be able to wage an effective war against corruption. May God Bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An activist and Citizens Journalist.
Facebook / C.v.Akuta.