News / Africa

Nigeria Anti-Corruption Group Urges President to Veto Measure

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan presents the 2013 budget proposal at a joint sitting of the parliament in the capital Abuja October 10, 2012.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan presents the 2013 budget proposal at a joint sitting of the parliament in the capital Abuja October 10, 2012.
Peter Clottey
The chairman of Nigeria’s Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CA-COL) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to veto a proposed measure that seeks to enable public officials to own foreign bank accounts.

Debo Adeniran said if passed into law the proposed measure will not only lead to money laundering, but also encourage terrorism in Nigeria and around the world.

“We are calling on President Jonathan [not allow the bill to become a law], if indeed he wants to be seen to be doing something about money laundering and terrorism financing,” said Adeniran. “It is not only official corruption that would be exacerbated by such an act, it will also help in terrorism financing, and that is more dangerous.”

It is illegal for Nigeria public officials to own and operate foreign accounts. But, the House of Representatives is currently reviewing an amendment that would enable public officials to maintain or operate bank accounts outside Nigeria.

Adeniran said several government officials have been accused of embezzling state funds and transferring the money into foreign accounts, despite an existing law which makes it illegal.

“The reason why many of the public officials are unable to traffic in currencies is because the laws against money laundering in other countries are very strong. So, most of those who engage in money laundering are caught, while trying to pass the money to those who have bank accounts in those other countries,” said Adeniran.

He adds that Mr. Jonathan’s quest to root out perceived endemic corruption could be irreparably damaged.

“We are worried that Nigeria will be closer to the precipice if public officials are allowed to own international accounts, such that they would be able to lodge ill-gotten wealth,” continued Adeniran. “They can steal a lot of money in Nigeria and transport it to their foreign accounts. That will not help us in fighting corruption. It will not help in fighting terrorism, and curbing illicit wealth, especially gotten from narcotics and other harmful drugs.”

Adeniran said his group plans to petition the various arms of government as well as embark on a nationwide demonstration to press home their displeasure with the new measure.

“We intend to send a petition to the president, and if eventually they pass the bill we intend to do a protest march to the presidency at least to register our displeasure over such shenanigans,” said Adeniran.

Some observers have also expressed concern that the proposed measure could also damage the country’s banking system since public office holders will now be able to transfer larger amounts of money out of the country.
Clottey interview with Debo Adeniran, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders
Clottey interview with Debo Adeniran, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders i
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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 22, 2013 9:44 AM
Talk about "all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others". These are lawmakers who are supposed to safeguard the integrity of the nation's financial system as well as the banking industry. Now they want to be banking their monies abroad so that the issue of accountability and asset declaration will be window dressing. It's really a banana republic. And before you know what is happening, the "Smiling George" - president Jonathan will sign it into law explaining it away to "gullible" Nigerians how much they will use the monies they steal to bring in more wealth and job opportunities into the country. Shows us who the chief corrupt officers of the country are. This is an institutionalization of corruption, to say the least.

Even the president sees every other Nigerian who is not in the political system as fools without intelligence. What they see as the people's naivety is the immunity granted their offices, and because the president only addresses the people on radio and television wherein no one will stop him and ask question or oppose him, he thinks he has fooled them all. Well. He should hold a town hall meeting with any community and learn the truth for himself.

But one other thing, I have always worried about the president of Nigeria when he always appears to the people wearing a smile. He reminds me of one Nollywood movie I watched in late 90s titled rituals. In that movie the character 'Smiling George' (Kanayo O. Kanayo) was the most dangerous character of the pack. The president's smile to the country on fire makes me wary of his intentions. All his promises to the country both as president and during campaign have failed - instead he has increased the pump price of fuels, electricity is still largely elusive with skyrocketing tariff (has gone up 4 times this year alone), cement price never budged, ASUU has been on strike for more than a semester - he was once a teacher/lecturer. Everything is going upside down in the country and Mr. president is still smiling at us, is it not odd? Is Smiling George not feeding on the blood of his people?

by: Ado B. Mahmud from: Lagos
November 22, 2013 6:02 AM
I concur on the fact that we are tribalistic in our approach issues affecting our dear country. We pray that one God will give us a leader that will lead us with fear God knowing fully that one day we shall give account of our deeds. I pray that one day Nigerians will elect leaders not on the basis of sectionalism or ethnic chauvinism but on merit. Until then, it will be difficult for any leader to rule justly. Look at recent election in Anambra state, with all the lapses observed, some people still see it differently. Very few people from South East see it as not free and fair just because it is APGA that is leading. We should always try to call a spade a spade no matter what. We should be objective in our analysis of issues please.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 21, 2013 9:59 PM
The world view Nigeria as the mother of all corruptions in the Africa
while Africa view Somalia as a symbol of perfect failed state in the world. The similarities are both countries have dysfunctional politicians who are very afraid to venture outside of their tribal/ethnic mentality circle.
In Response

by: eluu egwu from: south africa
November 22, 2013 4:33 AM
they are not only disfunctional, but also visionless, greedy and selfish. how can we continue to see a set of people who knows what will be of benefit to their fellow country men and refuse to do it. haba, God will surely deliver us.

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