HEDA Compendium Launch
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HEDA Unveils Compendium of 100 High-Profile Corrupt People in Nigeria

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“Cost of corruption stares us in the face everyday when we see children out of school, bad roads and other infrastructure that we lack, while money ends up in private pockets’’ — retired Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo

The names of high-profile Nigerians, who have been keeping the country underdeveloped, have been brought to light in a just-published 6th edition of a compendium in Lagos.

Published by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, it is titled, “Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria.’’

Unveiling the book, the Executive Secretary of HEDA Resource Centre, Sulaimon Arigbabu, said the idea behind the publication was to make Nigerians know who were keeping the country underdeveloped.

Arigbabu said that Nigerians had taken it for granted that some people would shout when a high-profile corruption case was uncovered and after it would die down.

“From the first publication of the compendium to now, there have been convictions. We believe that with time, people will be held accountable as records are being kept and actions are being taken.

“Cases published in the book are those that have gone to court. It is an effort to make Nigerians and the world know those who are keeping the country underdeveloped,’’ he said.

He thanked anti-corruption agencies for availing information on the cases and working assiduously to investigate and prosecute those alleged of corruption.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, retired Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, said the “cost of corruption stares us in the face everyday when we see children out of school, bad roads and other infrastructure that we lack, while money ends up in private pockets’’.

He frowned at plea bargains often agreed to in courts during trial of corruption cases, recalling that the Bible made it clear that “all that was stolen must be returned before the sin is forgiven’’.

Taiwo also frowned at situations where political parties in power would beckon on a corrupt person to “come and join us and your sins are forgiven’’.

Persecondnews recalls that a one-time National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), ex-Edo Gov. Adams Oshiomhole, had openly invited corrupt politicians on trial in the courts to join the party and be left off the hook to enjoy their loots.

Taiwo also described the situation where a person who had been convicted of a crime will be interviewed on national television as unacceptable.

The reviewer of the book, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), said like in the other facets of Nigerian life, the judiciary is faced with serious challenges in trying the cases, leading to many of them not being concluded within a good time frame.

Oyedepo said that retirement and transfer of judges were major issues stalling the trial of many of the cases, as it often led to trials beginning afresh.

He also said that the attitude of some lawyers or counsel in most cases do not help trials because of their belief that they must win cases.

“Some of the counsel use frivolous applications – stay of executions – or urging the court to do the impossible to stall trials.

“Also, witnesses coming from outside the jurisdiction of the court, and non-diligence of the prosecution are some of the other factors delaying speedy dispensation of justice in corruption cases.

“However, efforts are being made to ensure that most of the high-profile cases are brought to conclusion early,’’ he said.

Oyedepo appealed to Nigerians to discard the attitude of ‘it doesn’t concern me’, as it was only when “we have a serene environment that we can prosper economically and socially’’.

Citing some cases, he noted that even election matters often took precedence over criminal cases.

The Commissioner, Lagos State Police Command, CP Abiodun Alabi, in his goodwill message, said the Police was a ready partner to every organisation that is fighting corruption.

Represented by CSP Kehinde Oni, the commissioner noted that the Police was one of the agencies saddled with fighting crime, saying, “all must be prepared to fight corruption.

“If we notice corruption in our organisations, we must fight it frontally to kill it. There must be a change of attitude in us. We must kill corruption or corruption will kill us.’’

In his goodwill message, Mr Olumuyiwa Michael, an Assistant Commandant in the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) thanked HEDA for its efforts in documenting the 100 High Profile Corruption Cases.

“Corruption is a big elephant that need to be chased out of our system,’’ adding that the NSCDC had also secured convictions in cases involving vandalism.

“On behalf of the Corps, I urge HEDA not to relent in its efforts as a foremost non-governmental organisation in the fight against corruption as it would lift the country from poverty.’’

The representative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), bIyabo Daramola, also commended the HEDA for the compendium, noting that it was a tool that would be used in the anti-corruption fight.

“For us to have a future, all stakeholders must be involved in the fight against corruption,’’ she said.

Mr Alloysius Eze, the Executive Director of PLAYYA Nigeria Youth Development Initiative, in his goodwill message, while commending HEDA for the Compendium, noted that many Nigerians were fleeing the country because of economic reasons and insecurity stemming from corruption.

He expressed the hope that HEDA should increase the number of cases in the book from 100 to 200 so as to expose more corrupt people and probably deter others who, after being alleged, still walk the streets as free men.

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