The Nigerian panel, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is investigating an alleged bribery scandal involving lawmakers and last week?s rejection of a constitutional amendment that would extend the presidential term limit from two to three. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman of the EFCC, told English to Africa Reporter Howard Lesser that in the last two weeks the Commission has made progress in tracking the claims of bribery as well as raising public awareness of this issue.
?I think the work we did in some way helped more or less in determining the outcome of the entire process,? he said. ?We started the investigation about two weeks ago, and we?ve been to banks (in Abuja, particularly), and we have taken statements from different people. And we issued a statement requesting information from the members of the public.?
A US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations heard testimony from Chairman Ribadu and others last Thursday, two days after the Nigerian Senate vote. Ribadu said that US legislators can help Nigeria fight corruption, ?Maybe as much as 80 percent of corruption that takes place in Africa goes out, and it goes to the West. And indeed, some of it also finds its way into the US. Shut it out. Don?t allow them. And I told them that corrupt people and corrupt leaders, particularly from Africa, are as bad as terrorists. If it is possible that a corrupt despot, a person who is looting the treasury of his own country, could be treated as a terrorist, it will make a huge difference in the fight we are waging back home. I also asked them for technical support because some of this criminal activity is very complex. We need technology that will assist us in the war.?
Ribadu says his Commission?s investigation will continue, even though Nigeria?s National Assembly has dropped the bid to extend presidential term limits. ?If you fight corruption, and you successfully fight it to a standstill, you will be able to get good governance.?
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