Nyame, 63 by the coming Christmas, will spend the next 14 years behind bars, having been convicted on 26 of the 41 count-charge of corrupt enrichment to the tune of N1.64 billion by

Kenneth Obi

Mustafa Ibrahim Magu, a commissioner of police, was in expansive mood last night. In fact, out of character, he betrayed a secret. “I am going to write a book when I retire. The title of the book will be No Place to Hide”, he volunteered shortly after news filtered out on the conviction of Mr. Jolly Nyame, by an Abuja High Court.

Nyame, 63 by the coming Christmas, will spend the next 14 years behind bars, having been convicted on 26 of the 41 count-charge of corrupt enrichment to the tune of N1.64 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Figuratively speaking, the anti-corruption watchdog under Magu has sent a strong signal to all crooks and crooked public officers who take delight in ravaging the country’s common purse. Nyame’s conviction serves notice to all, both serving and former politicians and public officers alike – that henceforth there will be no hiding place for thieves!

The advent of democracy 19 years ago was expected to shower Nigerians with sundry democracy dividends. Unfortunately, while well-meaning people doubted the sincerity of the khaki boys, crooks and charlatans took the risk, threw their hats in the ring and won elections to various offices, from the local government to the National Assembly.

No thanks to the expensive presidential system and its winner-takes-all mentality, Nigerians had to endure the huge costs of governance, with its attendant budget padding, inflation and outright embezzlement of public resources.

Rather than get the goodies of good governance, our communities, urban and rural, are riddled with hunger, illiteracy, diseases, darkness, and poor roads; alongside capital flight due to brain drain and ceaseless medical tourism through which over $1 billion is lost annually.
But the mindless plundering of the treasury began way back from the military era. It has snowballed into the poor management of resources under civil rule. Speaking recently at the Platform Nigeria 2018 in Lagos, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo lamented that corruption remained the ultimate threat to the nation’s economy, stressing that government could have done more with less income but for monstrous graft ravaging the nation.

“Grand corruption remains the ultimate threat to our economy. Just to give an example: $3 billion was stolen through the so-called Strategic Alliance contracts in 2015,” he revealed.

The vice president went further to specify that just three citizens perpetrated the fraud amounting to N1 trillion (using the prevailing official exchange rate) in a nation with a N7 trillion annual budget.

Similarly, a former vice president at the World Bank for Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, herself a former minister under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2012, revealed that Nigeria lost $400 billion to oil thieves since 1960 when it gained independence.
It should worry sane people that some 20 percent of the entire budget for capital expenditure in this country ends in private pockets; one then wonders why social and infrastructural development in Nigeria have remained stagnated.

In its report for 2017, the UK Department for International Development claimed that a screaming $32 billion was lost to corruption during the last administration alone. Thanks to democracy and technologies that have allowed for the tracking of stolen funds, how much of such have been wasted under the rapacious military era should be frightening.

Meanwhile, to reverse this scary drift, President Muhammadu Buhari has unapologetically vowed to do the needful to whittle down the monstrous influence of official stealing on the economy. “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”, he keeps admonishing.

And in doing that, EFCC, led by the seemingly defiant Magu, has played a patriotic role by dusting the books to bring corrupt public officials to justice; first to return their loot and secondly, to deter others like them from inflicting further injuries on the nation.

Regardless of his ordeals before the Senate, which up till today has refused to confirm him as the chairman of the anti-graft body, the Borno-state born top cop, who was promoted to a commissioner of Police in April, 2018, has continued to carry out his assignment without looking back.

Not few Nigerians believe that the frosty relationship between the Senate and the anti-corruption fighter had anything to do with a so-called report by the Department of State Services. It can be linked to fears among lawmakers that Magu’s sword for probity could swing in the direction of its members with unclean past records.

Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, while delivering this year’s Democracy Day lecture in Abuja, fingered some chairmen of committees in the parliament as notorious for demanding bribes in pretence of embarking on oversight functions.

Recent reports from the EFCC indicated that 603 convictions were recorded in the three years from 2015 when Buhari assumed office – 103, 195 and 189 in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively; including the 116 in the first five months of 2018.
The record speaks volume of a government unwilling to pamper people with questionable records or aiding corruption in government.

Nyame was born on the December 25, 1955, in the Zing local Government of Taraba. He was governor of the State from May 1999 to May 2007 and was first elected governor of the State in January 1992 until General Sanni Abacha struck in November 1993.

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He was a member of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Today, he is a member of All Progressives Congress. Jolly married the love of his life, Priscilla in 1981. He won awards for being the most peaceful and social governor and is equally very liberal. He is reputed to be very compassionate. That perhaps explain why the people of Taraba gave him their trust twice to preside over their affairs without examining his itchy fingers.

Indeed, one of his enduring achievements is the Jolly  Stadium in Jalingo, built in 2002. He was charged for criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of government funds during his tenure as governor in the civilian dispensation.

Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice is the Best way to Go Raising Anti Corruption Crusaders fighting Injustices in a Violent and Immoral Society of Nigeria for a Better Nigeria come 2019.
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