Pilot Law

Current Issues: PMB deserves Nigerians’ commendation over fight against corruption


A Professor of Law and Dean, Faculty of Law at the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Kwara State, Atere Taiwo Shehu speaks in this interview with our Judiciary Correspondent, KAYODE ADEOTI, on the need to appreciate the administration of President Muhammed Buhari over the fight against corruption among other sundry issues. Excerpts:

This present government vowed to fight corruption to a stand still during its electioneering campaign, will you say it has delivered on this promise?

Let me start by commending President Buhari for having the political will to decide to fight corruption. We started fighting the menace before he came, if you search on the internet, ‘Combatting Corruption in Nigeria, how effective are the Legal and Institutional Frame Work’, that was the research work I’ve done on it as far back as 2010. If today I can see a government that will take the bull by the horns, I will be happy, I commend his efforts but it is just like we’re just starting, we are not yet there simply because to fight it genuinely, Nigerians must key into it. But rather, Nigerians are deeply corrupt, how you get your wealth does not matter to them so far you can dish out part of whatever you’ve stolen. If we have a government that can educate the people about the evil of corruption, Nigerians might change for the better. The then President Olusegun Obasanjo presented a bill at the early stage of his administration for the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to the National Assembly just to fight corruption, now the menace has eaten deep into our system. The agitation of some people that they don’t want President Buhari again in 2019 is because he’s fighting corruption and now, corruption is fighting back.

(Cuts in…) Can you link the persistent herdsmen killings in the country to why some Nigerian are kicking against his re-election in 2019?

Do you know who the herdsman is? A cattle rearer. Nobody have shown us concrete evidence that it is truly the herdsmen that are responsible for the killings. How will you imagine that a cattle rearer will go about causing mayhem at where he’s grossly a minority, it’s not possible. Even in the North, those rearing cattle, are they solely Fulanis? We have to commend the effort of our President for fighting Boko Haram. It’s one of the things he promised us during his campaign that he will ensure security of lives and property. We can see the new arms and ammunition he has secured for the military. They’ve constructed a road inside Sambisa Forest, that is meant to bring the menace of Boko Haram to an end. But, the dislodged Boko Haram have infiltrated communities and we don’t known them. Gorilla warfare is very difficult to win, if our military dislodge them at certain area, they will regroup and start causing mayhem again in another part of the country. We might continue fighting Boko Haram for the next twenty years if care is not taken.

Whistle blowing policy was at a time efficacious towards recovery of looted funds. But, in recent times, the policy seems to have died…?

We don’t agree it’s dead. Federal Government has provided protection for whistle blowers, that the identity of whoever provides information on how to recover certain looted funds will not be disclosed. Yes, its not pronounced as before in  recent times because government must investigate and screen every source of information coming in. They can’t just pick on somebody because his name was mentioned. Nigerians can blackmail. I read recently that 11 trillion naira have been stolen under this administration, government doesn’t have such money. No reasonable person will act on such information. And if we will act, it is to first carry out forensic investigation.

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