By Uche Mbah
These are not the best of times for the All Progressives Congress ruling party. For a government that has anti corruption fight as their cardinal agenda, no week passes without one or more official of the government reeling under the burden of scandal or the other.
The latest of such scandals involved-yes, you got it-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Osinbajo was said to have approved N5.8billion, which he directed to be disbursed from the Eurobond account and another N17 billion he ordered to be released from the Ecological Fund. The house of Representatives insisted that the act was illegal because, constitutionally, such an appropriation should be passed through the National Assembly. Already, Timi Frank, former factional spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress, APC, insisted that the scandal is enough for a Vice President with a conscious to resign.
Calling for the dismissal of Mustapha Maihaja, director-general of NEMA, over alleged fraud, Frank said: “As a learned gentleman, Osinbajo cannot say he did not know that it is illegal for any government official to spend funds not appropriated by the national assembly. He should have known that it is intrinsically illegal for anybody to divert funds raised through the issuance of Euro Bond – approved by the national assembly for specific capital projects – to fund his ‘emergency intervention. What is most telling is that it now appears that the VP used his brief stay as Acting President to open up the nation’s coffers for fleecing in this manner with the approval of the N5.8billion to be disbursed from the Eurobond account and another N17 billion he caused to be released from the Ecological Fund.”
Osinbajo had given the approval in his capacity as the acting president during the time President Buhari was away on medical tourism in London.
Maihaja himself is not new to scandals. Only last year, he admitted that the agency coughed out a whopping N400 million in demurrage for the clearance of rice donated by the Chinese government. The rice was meant to be distributed to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North Eastern part of the country at the value of N414 million.
Recently, the Nigerian Police insisted that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, hid $470.4m and N8.8bn allegedly in commercial banks contrary to the Federal Government’s policy of Single Treasury Account. Though NNPC has denied the issue, it is now a controversy on who actually owns the money.
Again, Kano state government has been in the news for the wrong reasons: He was caught on Camera hiding huge amount of dollars in his Agbada. It was said to be part of $230,000 kickback from state contractors. Ganduje has insisted that the video was doctored, but more videos are surfacing online where he is enmeshed in more of same scandals. And Rochas Okorocha, Imo state governor, has insisted that Oshiomhole was paid huge sums of money by politicians that wanted him to return them in primaries.
All these while, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, looks the other way, even if there are petitions against the accused.