Transition Monitoring Group commends trial of Haliburton bribe takers
The recent confession by the main actor in the scandal, involving Halliburton had once again confirmed to the whole world that nothing can be hidden for ever. The revelation that some government officials demanded the greasing of their palms to the tune of $180 million to influence the officials on the liquefied natural gas contract have also confirmed the extent to which corruption has become deep-rooted in government circle.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua according to the Justice Minister is embarrassed in the scandal and interested in identifying the Nigerians involved for prosecution.
The interest shown by the President will no doubt reinforce the interest of Nigerians in the re-branding project of the current administration. Underscoring the campaign as a productive act which time has come.
It should be noted that beyond the interest currently expressed by the President is the need to convince Nigerians that the outcome will not be shrewd in unnecessary secrecy or be treated in the usual family way.
Many probes carried out within the confine of the Nigerian territory have never seen the light of the day, not to talk of the Halliburton case, which is outside the shores of the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo have been alleged to have committed many financial crimes while he was in power, and nothing seems to have been done as up till date nobody sees anything bad in all the alleged atrocities to warrant arrest and prosecution.
Fraud running into billions of Naira are being daily committed by government officials, yet government has decided to turn deaf hears to the need for prosecution of those found culpable of the offences.
In this wise, investigating Halliburton’s scandal should again not end up in fattening the pockets of the investigators who will be assigned to investigate the case while all culpable hands must be brought to book to serve as lessons to others.
The President should take swift action by being more enthusiastic on a campaign to make Nigeria corruption free as he shows strict interest in arresting those revealed to have been involved in the bribe taking without minding whose ox is gored. Doing that will advertise the re-branding project in a more resonating ways to the citizens and send signals that Nigeria is ready to win the war against corruption and indiscipline.
The President must show interest in re-enacting a new Nigeria where corruption will become a high-risk venture and low tolerance so as to remake it into a brand new nation of excellence. Nigerians must begin to see themselves as the focus of rebranding project so as to become a good part of the solution to its multi-faceted problems.
We must strive to be above the slogan that no Nigerian government had succeeded in fighting and prosecuting top government officials caught in the act of defrauding the nation. Those found from the current search for names of those involved should be turned in for diligent prosecution so that Nigerians would trust the government that the Yar’Adua can fight a courageous battle against corruption in his own time.
Comrade Mashood Erubami Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
Chair TMG Publicity Secretary
For Transition Monitoring Group