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Can Death Penalty Reduce Corruption ? (II)

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In the case of China, as of 2005, more than 4,000 officials fled the country, taking with them nearly US$50 billion. Since China does not have extradition agreements with most of the countries harbouring the fugitives, they cannot be always brought back to face Chinese justice. Also, many of these countries do not hand down the death penalty for corruption. So extraditing the fugitives would be tantamount to sending them to death row.

China’s legal experts have even suggested abolishing the death penalty for corruption.

It’s true that about half the world have abolished capital punishment altogether and the other half that still have their hands are only for heinous crimes like murder. So we can see that having the death penalty in place for corruption will strain our relationship with countries where these criminals normally carry their loot.

However, I will admit that I have never heard of any Nigerian corrupt official being extradited from the UK, the US or any other country in the last 50 years, despite the agreements we have with such countries. The problem is that no Nigerian Government has ever asked for this important bi-lateral cooperation to be applied. And the simple reason is that no Nigerian administration, military or democratic, has ever been sincere about fighting corruption. In fact, the Administration itself, in most cases, is corrupt. And it is in their interest not to seek the extradition of such criminals.

Corruption, rampant and prevalent as it is, poses a serious threat to Nigeria’s political stability and sustainable development. Hence, it warrants utmost care and sincerity in its handling, especially at a time when the government is seeking to be in good relationship with the larger world, and also with its “re-branding” efforts to position Nigeria right.

Besides, I doubt if this current Government and the ruling party, PDP, as we currently have both, are not even in the position or have the vision, capability, political and moral will to even advocate and implement a death sentence for corruption. 

This is because both the government and the governed have not been sincere and truthful about fighting corruption. The political will has never been there; even as we gave credit to Obasanjo for taking the first ever step to fight corruption by creating the tools: EFCC and the ICPC. The absence of this political will therefore negates the call for the death penalty to fight our endemic corruption problem.

There are other social, moral and economic issues which must be addressed first before we can talk of prescribing death sentence for corrupt practices. The government and the ruling party must be seen to be more sincere in fighting corruption by continuously and vigorously exposing and prosecuting criminals, and not shielding them. The judiciary must be cleaned up; the Nigeria Bar Association must deal with its errant members who are stifling the corruption fight in courts, while the government must also pro-actively tackle poverty, unemployment and illiteracy.

Also, government office or public service must not be seen as a quick route to making money. Hence, the salaries and other remunerations of  political office holders must be pruned in such a way that only those who really want to serve will be the ones going for these positions.

Get me right. There are some corrupt public officials and politicians who should be lined up by the wall and shot. I say this because if we carefully consider the effect of their corrupt practices on our lives, wellbeing and survival, these people have also committed genocide, directly or indirectly against millions of Nigerians.

However, methinks the whole idea of death penalty for corruption is fraught with danger, the danger being the application of this very severe penalty and the systemic, intrinsic corrupt society we have itself such as the lawmakers who are going to make the law; the enforcement agencies who will investigate the crime, the judiciary who will try the corrupt criminal and the lawyers who will defend or prosecute the case etc.

There must be a bribe giver to have a bribe taker. Also, it stands to reason that you cannot be a part of the problem and at the same time be part of the solution.

Adejumo is the global co-ordinator of Champions for Nigeria.

 

Akintokunbo A. Adejumo

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Yiaga Africa Blames Govt For Voters’ Apathy

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Independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry that increasing voters’ apathy as witnessed in the Anambra governorship election may not have been caused by insecurity but increasing loss of confidence in government.
A board member of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu held the view in Awka during a post-election reflection meeting with leaders of Civil Society Organizations.
Nwagwu reiterated that the ugly trend was not necessarily occasioned by insecurity that had always heralded elections in the past, but growing disconnect between the government and the masses, saying it is time populace held government to account to bridge the gap.
He said: “Election is over. Now we have to watch governance and the only way to do that is to clearly design pathways through which we can hold the government accountable.
“One of the ways is for the citizens to engage the government with budget process. Government every year estimates what it uses the people’s resources to do for them.
“Unfortunately, the people involved don’t show any interest, and four years later, the same people will start complaining that government has failed, even when there was nothing to track.
“We need to see how the Media and Civil Society groups can collaborate and produce what I call a citizen charter demand that they can hand over to the new Governor-elect.
“They can liaise with other professional bodies to conduct infrastructural assessment in the state and use that as a document to organize a town-hall meeting to engage government officials.”
Nwagwu also identified what he termed “fear and complaint industries” as major impediments to the growth and development of the state, insisting that the two factors must be shut to enable people of the state enjoy democracy dividends.
He added: “We need to close up the two industries of fear and complaint that have gripped the state, especially after the election so people can leverage the benefits of governance.
“If we continue with this scare-mongering and complaints, we will only succeed in having few persons taking over the government and dictating the pace.”

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CVR: Fresh Registrations Hit 4.2m

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 4,297,494.
The commission disclosed this in the second quarter, week seven, weekly update released by the commission in Abuja recently.
The commission said that as at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 1,856,771 persons have completed their online and physical registration.
According to statistics provided by the commission, 1,856,771 persons who completed their registration, include 941,098 males, 915,673 females.
It also added that 741,183 persons completed their registration online, while 1,115,588 completed it through physical registration.

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Saraki Visits Benue Over Presidential Ambition 

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A former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his ambition to vie for President in 2023.
Saraki, after a close door meeting with Governor Ortom, also met with the State Working Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to familiarise them with his intention to kick start consultations for his ambition to rule the country.
He said that the nationwide defection of party loyalists from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP was an indication that there might not be anyone left in the party before the next election.
“A party that cannot organise its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organised its affairs is ready in leading this country and that is the PDP,” he said.
Saraki added that the North Central Zone has paid its dues by working so hard in keeping the country together as one united entity just as he pointed out that, “this time we must stand for our own and charity begins at home.”
The ex -senate president, who was accompanied on the visit by former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, thanked the Benue governor for standing out for the zone.
Earlier, Governor Ortom, eulogised Saraki for being one of those Nigerians that had contributed immensely to the development of democracy.
Ortom said it was time to rescue the country from bottom, a position it was placed by the APC government, to the top, adding that Saraki deserves the presidential seat to enable him salvage the country from its current mess.
On his part, the State Chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, represented by his deputy, Isaac Mfo, said the party in the state had remained intact even as he assured the presidential hopeful that they would back his ambition to rule the country.

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