This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
SARAKI: SENATE INTEGRITY AT STAKE
7th April, 2016,
SARAKI: SENATE INTEGRITY
The trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, began at the Code of
Conduct Tribunal (CCT) two days ago (Tuesday 5th April, 2016). Since
then, shocking revelations have been made at the proceedings. But the last nail
in the coffin is the implication of Saraki in the recent Panama papers where
the Senate President allegedly has hidden assets in safe havens abroad.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is constrained to call the attention of
honourable members of the Nigerian Senate to the serious and damning
implication of this ugly development. The integrity of Senate is at stake here
and something needs to be done and very urgently too.
It is on record that more than sixty senators accompanied Dr. Bukola Saraki
to the CCT on his first day of appearance. The picture has been largely the
same during other appearances. The business of Senate was grinded to a halt on
each occasion with the attendant waste of tax-payers’ money.
While we salute senators for this manifestation of camaraderie, several
attempts by the embattled senate president to resist trial suggest that he
probably has skeletons in his cupboard. The recent revelations during court proceedings
where staggering amounts of money were alleged to have been surreptitiously
deposited in bank accounts or siphoned outside this country by the Senate
President through his agents also call for caution, concern and sober
fact that huge sums were reportedly split into smaller amounts and paid fifty
(50) times into the same bank account on a single day is quite worrisome. Somebody
somewhere knew that the source of the money he intended to deposit in a bank
account was illegal. Somebody somewhere wanted to avoid detection. Somebody
somewhere knew that he could be detected if the whole amount was paid in bulk
and at a go. Somebody somewhere has been a smart Alec.
Can honourable members of Senate beat their chests and tell Nigerians that
this somebody somewhere is not occupying the highest seat in the hallowed
chamber? Is this not desecration of the highest office in Senate? We know that
there are honest men and women in Senate. We know there are people of integrity
who occupy well-deserved seats in our Senate today. Are our senators waiting
until Nigerians start judging all senators by the same parameter? Are our Senators tarrying until Nigerians start
invoking popular proverbs like “Birds of the same feather…?”
MURIC therefore calls on Senate to do the needful. The Nigerian public is
disenchanted with a legislature that cannot satisfy all righteousness. A
legislative arm which condones stinking corruption at the leadership level can
never be in tandem with Nigeria’s new elixir for anti-corruption.
must go. Those who come to equity must come with clean hands. We cannot afford
to have an icon of credibility at the Nigerian apex of the executive only to have
the exact opposite in the higher chamber. Perhaps that is why very little
progress has been made since May 29, 2015. Saraki is a Trojan horse.
The Nigerian masses will know their true friends in Senate in the next few
days. They will know those who are ready to sanitise the system and those who
are in Senate to pursue the wicked agenda of the super rich against extremely
poor Nigerians. The practice whereby ‘monkey dey work, barboon dey chop’ must
Workers’ salary cannot take them home even on the day they receive it.
Some states are yet to pay the N18,000 minimum wage. Some states also owe as
much as three months salary arrears. Our graduates of ten years ago are still
roaming the streets. There is hunger and starvation in the land. The average
Nigerian lives on less than one dollar ($1) per day. Our per capita income is less than $300. More than 70 million Nigerians
How then can the masses stomach reports of a single person depositing
between N600,000 and N900,000 fifty times in a single day? This wide gap between
the rich and the poor is nothing short of social economic injustice. It is
responsible for the rise in violent crime, particularly armed robbery. Robbers
see no difference between robbing with the pen and stealing with the gun. It
kills workers’ morale and frustrates the few honest people we still have
around. Students use this same socio-economic disequilibrium as an alibi for jettisoning
academic pursuit. The youths use it as justification for going into Yahoo-Yahoo
and other fraudulent activities.
MURIC therefore calls on senators to save Nigeria from the impending doom.
Our senators must prove to Nigerians that no single person is greater than
Nigeria. It is time for pendulum swing. Distinguished Senators, are you going to
be loyal to a particular person or to Nigeria?
As a concluding remark, countries like Switzerland and the
United States with questionable latitudes in their banking laws which allow kleptomaniacs
from Africa to hide their loots must own up, stop the eye service and take
urgent steps towards transparency, probity and accountability. Those who make
it easy for thieves to hide their loot (and also benefit their economy from the
proceeds of looting) live with a moral burden.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)