EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urgently investigate the non-performance of the N588, 499, 725 contract awarded to a serving Senator from one of the South-eastern states for the establishment of Cactus Opuntia plantation in the six states of Borno, Niger, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna and Jigawa.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed dismay that the serving senator collected the sum of N166 million from the Federal Ministry of Environment in 2010 and absconded with his loot without even visiting any of the sites.
It likened the matter to the one involving the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, who collected a whopping N886 million as mobilisation fee from the Benue State Government.
According to the party, the establishment of the Cactus Opuntia plantations in the six states mentioned above was part of the National Afforestation Programme of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua designed to roll back the expanding Sahara Desert and generally put in place mitigation measures to combat the imminent effect of climate change which regrettably has been unleashing havoc in several parts of the country today.
“To underscore the reign of corruption and impunity of President Jonathan’s administration, this serving senator not content with walking away with the N166 million mobilisation fees, is now putting pressure on the Federal Ministry of Environment to pay him the balance of the contract sum, the party has revealed,” it said.
The party expressed grave reservation on the ability of the EFCC to investigate this unwholesome act on the part of this serving senator against the background of seeming handicap of the anti-graft body to deal with the corruption allegations against Okupe.
In conclusion the party warned that when an institution like the EFCC with the statutory responsibility to help bring to justice those charged with acts of corruption adopts ambivalent and complicit attitudes in dealing with select individuals then the country has lost its battle against corruption.
The party called on President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the EFCC a free hand in the discharge of its responsibilities.