Alleged N84bn embezzlement: CHRICED urges Nigerians to demand accountability

The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) has urged Nigerians to take a greater interest in governance by demanding accountability in the use of public funds for projects administered by local, state, and federal governments.

CHRICED was reacting to the developments following the recent attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apprehend former Governor of Kogi state, Mr. Yahaya Bello for his alleged embezzlement of over N84 billions of Kogi state funds.

According to the Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi in a press statement said it is crucial for citizens to get involved, as the constitutional mandate, which directs the State to abolish all forms of corrupt practices will remain a pipedream, if citizens do not get involved.

He said corruption, in all its forms, undermines public trust and undermines the social contract. If unchecked, corruption alienates citizens from the governance process.

CHRICED also called on President Tinubu to take decisive action against corruption and leave a legacy.

He urged the President to issue an ultimatum to Governor Ododo, demanding the surrender of Yaha Bello to the EFCC. Failure to comply should result in the declaration of a state of emergency in Kogi State.

He said history has shown that punishment, in order to serve as a deterrent, must be severe. It is better to be strict with one individual and save the lives and well-being of many, rather than being lenient with all and causing harm to a larger population.

He said just like a skilled surgeon who does not hesitate to amputate a diseased limb to save the entire body, President Tinubu must be resolute in the fight against corruption.

“We can draw lessons from countries like Arabia and China, where the implementation of strict punishments, such as cutting off hands and death for theft, has significantly reduced incidents of stealing.

“These countries demonstrate that a zero-tolerance approach towards stealing can effectively deter such crimes.

“We have also noted with deep concern the reprehensible actions of Kogi State Governor, Mr. Ahmed Usman Ododo, who abused his official immunity to shield Yahaya Bello from arrest.

It is reported that Yahaya Bello, who is currently a fugitive on EFCC’s wanted list, is being harbored at the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja by Governor Ododo.

“While we appreciate the efforts made so far by the EFCC in pursuing the case against Yahaya Bello, CHRICED unequivocally condemns Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo’s interference in thwarting Bello’s arrest, which goes against his sworn oath of office.

“We also denounce the Kogi State Assembly for hastily passing a resolution urging the EFCC to remove Yahaya Bello from its wanted list. These actions highlight the entrenched corruption and impunity in Kogi State, a state grappling with severe challenges such as unpaid pensions, delayed salaries for workers, and lack of infrastructural development.

“Regrettably, corruption has emerged as a severe epidemic that Nigerians have been grappling with in recent times. The plague of corruption has continued to ravage the lives of citizens.

“It is one of the major tragedies of our country that the All-Progressive congress (APC), which came into office in 2015 on the pretext that it was ready to fight corruption, has sunk neck-deep into the same corruption it claimed it was ready to fight. Consequently, the APC administration has lost its way, leaving the national and state treasuries at the mercy of the very mindless and unscrupulous looters, that the Nigerian citizens had hoped to see removed from all levels of governance,” he said.