Corruption Not Fighting Back — Yet

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Simon Kolawolelive!, Email: simon.kolawoe@thisdaylive.com

Let me start this discussion by making this declaration upfront: I have a soft spot for Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). And I want him confirmed as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency. I admit that he did not perform brilliantly at the senate confirmation hearing — in fact, I was slightly embarrassed by his outing. But one thing I have experienced in life, more so now that I am an employer of labour, is that there are applicants who don’t do well at interviews but can do a damn good job. There are those who speak smooth English at the recruitment stage and that is all they have to offer.

I have followed the career of Magu at the EFCC for a dozen years and I can confirm that he is one of the best hands the police force can boast of. An accountant by training and a seasoned financial crimes investigator, Magu was one EFCC official that many former governors prayed to avoid when the agency was looking into their books after their tenures expired in 2007. Anytime they were invited by the EFCC, they would plead not to be assigned to Magu for interrogation. He investigated the “big guys” without a fear in the world. He earned my thumbs-up when his investigation led to the conviction of his brother-in-law. This is not a common story in our Nigeria.

Much as I like Magu, though, I still have my own headache about EFCC under his watch. I’m worried by the way the agency has been losing high-profile cases in court recently. In just one week, they were floored four times. This is certainly not a badge of honour on the chest of a government that is branded locally and internationally as fighting corruption. You are not fighting corruption if your only success is to lynch people in public or to declare them guilty even before their case files are prepared. The lynching will attract standing ovation, apparently, but in the eye of the law, there is no corruption until proven in court. That is a big problem.

If I were in a position to advise Magu, there are only three suggestions I would make to him on how to make the anti-graft war a remarkable success and a model for other corruption-infested countries. One, cut out the media circus while investigation is still on. Two, get “ogbologbo” lawyers to prosecute these cases — as suggested by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who himself is an “ogbologbo” character. Three, let the war know no friend or foe. If after doing these things, the EFCC is still losing high-profile cases, then I will join in screaming that “corruption is fighting back”.  For now, it is haphazardness, not corruption, that is fighting back.

Let me explain myself for the sake of clarity. One, I think there is too much of EFCC investigations on the pages of newspapers. I am not an expert in criminal investigations by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I see things in foreign movies, and I would say the media arm of EFCC is too active when the agency is investigating or intending to investigate people. Although Nigerians, especially on the social media, love the art of “naming and shaming” even before any case of wrong-doing is established, there is the danger of giving room to the suspects to undermine investigation and sabotage trial. It could be counterproductive.

Meanwhile, the reputations of many Nigerians have been damaged simply because they were invited by the EFCC. Interrogations are reported virtually live in the media. Yet, the fact that you were quizzed by the EFCC does not mean you have committed a crime. So many people have been quizzed and released with no case established against them. But because of the publicity blitz, their names are all over the internet being sensationally branded as criminals. This reputational damage aside, media trial can even win the accused some sympathy from sections of the public and the judiciary who would say it is “persecution” and not “prosecution”.

Investigations must be discreet. I have an example to give. The FBI recently investigated FIFA officials over corruption allegations that, in some instances, went back to 20 years. The investigation was not leaked to the media. It was when water-tight cases had been established and the case files were ready for trial that it was leaked. The suspects were immediately arrested. It is going to be difficult for the US government to lose those cases. Compare to Nigeria where you will first be arrested before the search for evidence begins. All your statements will be leaked to the media while you are still in custody. Something is just not right with this approach.

I understand very well the problem with EFCC, and I indeed sympathise with them, that without the media spotlight, Nigerians would not believe that they are working. They are under pressure. There is actually a psychological advantage the media show confers. It is very good for the “optics”. But winning a case in the court of public opinion is not the same as winning in a court of law. In an organised society, the court is the arbiter, not the media. Processes and procedures are as important as the aims and the objectives. What we ultimately need to achieve is to build enduring systems and institutions that will effectively and efficiently tackle impunity in the country.

To be sure, media trial was not invented by Magu. It was the standard practice under Nuhu Ribadu as chairman. It does not address the corruption problems as much as we think. In fact, as we saw under President Goodluck Jonathan, an application of biometrics can reform processes and cut out certain forms of corruption from the root. But EFCC still has to clean up much of the mess that cannot be eradicated by BVN, TSA and payroll biometrics introduced by the previous administration. It is in cleaning this mess that the EFCC has to be very strategic. Certain things are beyond EFCC’s control, but they must diligently work with what they have power over in order to achieve results.

There was a time in my life when I supported media trials. As far as I was concerned, since convictions in court were getting difficult to come by, naming and shaming would serve as a second option. Having seen how things have turned out in the last 14 years, though, I have abandoned my endorsement of media trial. It can never be a substitute for proper investigation and diligent prosecution to secure landmark convictions. It is after proper investigations have been done that “ogbologbo” lawyers will come in. There are loopholes usually exploited by the counsel to the accused that “ogbologbo” lawyers can plug before trial begins.

You see, EFCC should never go to court under the presumption that a judge will convict a suspect on the basis of weak evidence — just to be seen as helping the government in the anti-graft war and to avoid being accused of helping corruption to fight back. Normally, every judge wants to give a sound judgment so that it is not upturned by a superior court. That is professional pride. Sure, I know Nigerian judges are a part of the problem. I know that corrupt persons have enough money to bribe the most decent of judges and hire the best of lawyers. This is beyond EFCC’s control. But, come on, let us prepare a damn good case first before concluding that corruption is fighting back.

Finally, the anti-graft war will be more credible, sustainable and effective if it does not distinguish between the friends and enemies of the government. One of the biggest failings of the anti-graft war in Nigeria has always been that you can predict who would be prosecuted and who would not. It is a pattern. Unfortunately, that is one of the surest ways of undermining the war. More so, people will easily figure out what camp to belong in order to be shielded from EFCC. I have seen this over and over again in 17 years. The war must be prosecuted in a way that nobody will feel immune — no matter who they are and where they belong.

My conclusion is that Magu is still the man for the job. I am not suggesting that he is the only one who can head the EFCC. I am not that daft. I have just discussed the weak points, even if they were not all his making. But I am also intelligent enough to know that we are never going to get a perfect head for EFCC. Whoever is brought in to replace Magu will have his or her own failings. However, Magu has, over the years, demonstrated courage, dedication and tenacity of purpose. He has the fear factor. I would only advise him to review his methods and tactics in order to do a much better job. But I am totally against throwing the baby away with the bath water.

And Four Other Things…

HAUL OF SHAME

And so, $43.4 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million were discovered in an Ikoyi flat and the federal government is yet to make a pronouncement on the haul many days after? The biggest enemy of the Buhari administration is not the PDP — it is clearly its own amateurish way of doing things. It can’t even communicate with Nigerians. If indeed the money belongs to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) as widely reported, do we need FBI to come and investigate before the information is officially made public? We are now left with just conjectures and speculations, and the average person on the street is concluding that there is a huge cover-up. Damaging.

YARI VISITS ZAMFARA

Praise God! I was delighted on Wednesday when God’s minister of crime and punishment, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, finally left Abuja to pay a courtesy call on Zamfara state, where he is, according to media reports, the elected governor. Yari went to inspect the extent of God’s punishment on his people who have been dying of cholera and meningitis after too much fornication. From the look on his face, Yari seemed satisfied with the damages. Since his people are obviously too sick to fornicate now, Yari should seize this opportunity to provide them with potable water and stock the hospitals with drugs to prevent further punishment from God. Cheers.

CHIBOK CHARADE

On the night of April 14, 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 Chibok schoolgirls. We were first told by the military that the girls had returned. Then we started hearing that no schoolgirl was abducted at all. Someone sent me an SMS asking: “When did northerners start studying science that 276 of them would be preparing to write Physics exam?” Another asked how many buses would be needed to convey 276 girls. Politicians were busy fighting and trading blame. Mrs Patience Jonathan added drama with her classic “Na Only You Waka Come” tirade. Some girls escaped. Some were released. But three years after, 195 are still missing. Truth be told, Nigeria let them down. Shame.

LIGHT HEARTED

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, information minister, had his own “alternative facts” moment on Wednesday when he made light of President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at the weekly cabinet meeting. He said it was because “the agenda was light” and Buhari had to attend to more important matters. For the record, that was the first time in the history of Nigeria (let me say: to the best of my knowledge) that a president would be in town and not preside over a cabinet meeting. We all know that the president is recuperating and we are praying for him, so we did not need any spin for goodness sake. How can agenda be “light” in a country that has no light? Seriously?

  • omoregie osawe

    ” It does not address the corruption problems as much as we think. In fact, as we saw under President Goodluck Jonathan, an application of biometrics can reform processes and cut out certain forms of corruption from the root. But EFCC still has to clean up much of the mess that cannot be eradicated by BVN, TSA and payroll biometrics introduced by the previous administration. It is in cleaning this mess that the EFCC has to be very strategic. Certain things are beyond EFCC’s control, but they must diligently work with what they have power over in order to achieve results” Unbelievable coming from Simon Kolawole. Anyway better late than never. It is instructive that Buhari have no clue how the TSA he has been crowing about as his major achievement came about, Instead he misdirected the laudable reform process in a way that damaged the economy. It is clear to all now that reform processes and institution can better minimize corruption than the crude and vindictive 13 century method been employed by Buhari now. Passage of time is vindicating Jonathan. His administration was dovish but processes and reforms were quietly getting the job done. The difference is clear.

  • Daniel Obior

    Again, this lily livered journalist has avoided putting the blame for media trial where it actually belongs. It is clear to all that Buhari and his APC government is squarely responsible for the spins, lies, and sensationalism that has permeated the entire atmosphere, including this badly structured fight against corruption, by media. If indeed the EFCC on its own became overzealous with the media publication of aspects of its investigations, why would a right thinking government not call it to order? The truth is that EFCC is simply living the image of the government that is controlling the organisation, and most probably following the orders of the government. Simon Kolawole should please be bold enough to put the blame where it belongs. We have a government of lies, propaganda and sensationalism, that is responsible for the media trials. EFCC is only acting a script.

    • Jon West

      Simon Kolawole is desperately looking for a look-in into the innards of this despicable Government. Like a typical Afonja descendant, he will be patient and relentless, until he gets what he wants, even if for only a day. That is how their cookie crumbles.

      • Rotimi Lawanson

        I have long given up on Simon. Do you notice how instead of saying that this government favors its own in the anti corruption war he says it’s been happening for the past 17 years. What a clown!!! Simon we are all unto you! We are sick and tired of your cowardly articles. You must learn to speak the truth to power. One day your children and their friends will read your cowardly articles which say everything and absolutely nothing! You are a coward Simon and a bootlicker. You give our people a very bad name!!!

      • Nnaemeka Emma Chikezie

        Jon West, you can make your point about Simon without adding his Yoruba ancestry to the topic.

        • Jon West

          Believe me my dear man, Afonja is a generic sobriquet for stupid treachery. It applies to all traitors of all ethnicities. The Yoruba have reliable people and we know them, so do all the other ethnicities. Don’t cry more than the bereaved, because the supposed victims are really not complaining. The truth shall set you free, but first it will exasperate you and make you angry. Fact!!

    • E.Udah

      Truth is, there’s no doubt that Magu is acting Buhari script and mode of fighting corruption.
      In 1984 few weeks after overthrowing Shagari, Buhari changed the colour of Naira and gave only five days deadlines to exchange your old currencies to new ones and no one could change more than five thousand naira cash. That policy plunged the nation into an untold hardship. We learnt to trade using “trade by barter” methods.
      Monies were discovered in people’s homes. Overhead water tanks where politicians purportedly stashed cash were unveiled. The media then was awashed with all kinds of news and propaganda on”War against indiscipline.
      He was banning and un banning. People were singing and clapping for him. Few months into his then regime, there was a loud agony in the land that only ended when he too was overthrown.
      The Nigeria I see today is not in anyway different from the Nigeria I saw and lived in 1984-1985. It’s like sleeping in 1985 and waking up in 2016, 2017 with a bad dream that’s playing out.

      All those monies being uncovered in banks, airports, suckaways, people’s homes etc, could have been taken offshore? To whose credit is it that those monies are not out of Nigeria?

      • Daniel Obior

        Was with you up till your last paragraph when you posed two questions. Pardon me if I am not smart enough to understand what you are getting at with the questions. Please explain by answering the questions you posed.

        • E.Udah

          Dan, if people are keeping huge amount of money at home and they are unable to transfer, launder or ship them abroad, is it to Buhari’s administration credit or Jonathan’s?
          Because I know one fought corruption quietly with strong policies (BVN, TSA etc) and institutions while the other is fighting it fanfare and drama.

          • Daniel Obior

            It is to nobody’s credit and all our leaders are to blame for creating the situation for people to steal and hoard money at home. This practice predates Jonathan and Buhari. One may recall the “banking Zuwo” days, for instance. Barkin Zuwo was the governor of Bornu state under the Shagari government. A huge amount of money was discovered in his house, enough to open a bank. Hence he was called “banking Zuwo”.

          • Razor

            Barkin Zuwo was the Kano state governor then.

          • Daniel Obior

            Thanks. I stand corrected.

          • E.Udah

            I thought the handsome Abubarka Rimi was then governor of Kano state during Shagari.

          • Razor

            Abubakar Rimi was governor between 1979-1983, then Barkin zuwo governed few months before the December 31st, 1983 coup.

      • Tony Oshea

        Obviously the corruption war is a charade,aimed solely at bolstering the ebbing ego of the certificates-less tenant of Aso.Magu happens to understand the game plan-‘if you are bereft of knowledge follow his body language’, then engage in media blitzes and convict suspects on the pages of hostile media organizations. First, it was 52/3 suit cases of dollars that was discovered in 1984/85 and the money simply disappeared and nothing was ever heard about the matter-EVER.FFW to 2017 ,humongous sums of foreign currencies are discovered “abandoned” at Kaduna airport,at an unoccupied shop in Lagos,then another unoccupied apartment, owned by unknown persons. Just when experts in criminology start to puncture the narratives,there is a detour to NIA claiming ownership. The SSG is esconced in Aso unperturbed by the allegation of “cutting grass ” for a contract of billions awarded to his firm. If he was a PDP member, he would have a one way visa to Kuje by now. Senates disapproval of Magu was based on reports of DSS,indicting him. The same DSS invaded the privacy of respectable jurists in unholy hours,alleging that they were compromised to give objective rulings. The media and gullible Nigerians went into a frenzy,that finally some “big fish” was netted. The judge was finally discharged and acquitted last week by a court of competent jurisdiction. My point is why segregating the DSS reports on Magu and the judges.

  • Abia_Man

    The most effective way to fight corruption is to repeal the Petroleum Act and restore the oil and gas resources to their rightful owners- the indigenes. But that would torpedo Tinubus oil and gas ambitions, end fuel subsidy for Lagosians, and make medicore journalists find their true level .

    • Jon West

      How incisive!! The sum of all solutions to this problem; but Afonja’s descendants and their Sahelian allies will not hear of this, so the beat goes on and on and on, until the final dance of national perdition.

  • Don Franco

    Dear Simon,

    Seeing that Ibrahim Magu is the best qualified individual to head the EFCC, kindly please hazard answers to the following ten questions :

    1) How many indicted former Governors were convicted in consequence of Magu’s “forensic” accounting skills; aren’t they all sitting in the Senate, (without immunity)?
    2) Why hasn’t former Jigawa governor Saminu Turaki’s =N=200 billion loot been retrieved by Magu to date?
    3) Isn’t Ibrahim Magu the first EFCC acting Chairman to have been suspended for serious misconduct unbecoming of an officer of the law?
    4) Why did Magu fly in Rtd AVM Mohammed Umar’s private jet with the Fidelity Bank MD whom he was investigating for Deazani loot at the time?
    5) Why did Magu make available ongoing investigation files of EFCC suspects to Rtd AVM Mohammed Umar, in whose house $1 million cash was found?
    6) Why did Magu and AVM Umar forge and fabricate evidence of corrupt conduct against Kachikwu and his brother (Dumebi), on the letterhead of VP Osinbajo?
    7) Why did Magu lie to the Senate during his confirmation hearing about being “unaware” that healthy suspects regularly die while under EFCC custody; and that C of Os of unconvicted suspects are being put in the market for sale by EFCC agents, under his watch?
    8) Simon, why are you perpetuating the stereotype that no southerner is qualified for chairmanship of the EFCC, that it should remain the exclusive monopoly of northerners, since inception?
    9) Having lost four major corruption cases this month, is there any reason why Magu’s resignation shouldn’t be in order?
    10) In the light of Ibrahim Magu’s criminal and corrupt conduct, as reinforced by the DSS; doesn’t that render all past and ongoing indictments and convictions under his watch invalid?

  • John Paul

    Kolawole spent a significant portion of this essay castigating publicizing the war against corruption. What he calls “media trials”. Nevertheless, at the end of the essay, when he truely spoke his mind, like most Nigerians, he came out in full support of publiciziing the war against corruption, when he said:
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    “It can’t even communicate with Nigerians. If indeed the money belongs to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) as widely reported, do we need FBI to come and investigate before the information is officially made public”
    —————————————————————————————————————
    The war against corruption in Nigeria is a existential battle. Corruption can be directly linked to many deaths in Nigeria. From our military officers who got slaughtered in the North East on account of ATM Dasuki’s loot, to our porous security, bad roads, poor healthcare system, high infant mortality and poor education system, corruption has robbed Nigeria of critical development

    Corruption in Nigeria is akin to crimes like murder, rape and child abduction in the United States. Whenever there is a murder, anywhere, in the United States, before the victims body is cold, the media are all over the place with their cameras, pencils and notebooks

    And whenever there is a child abduction, before the media even gets to the scene of the child abduction, every single person in that U.S. city has received a text message announcing that there was a child abduction.

    Nigerians should even start receiving text messages immediately it is discovered that money is missing from any agency in Nigeria

    Publicity has absolutely nothing to do with the conviction rate of recent corruption cases in Nigeria. Aside from the fact that, in every country on this planet, deep pockets know how to beat the system, the blame goes mainly to the judicial philosophy of the judges deciding those cases. Sometimes, the judges and even the prosecutor, are in cahoots with the criminal Defendant.

    Other times, the judges do not have a judicial philosophy that augurs well with the war against corruption. If a judges like Ayo Salami handle those cases that EFCC lost, at least, 3/4 of those cases would have gone in favor of the government. Nigeria needs more activist judges.

    The good news is that things are improving. Magu’s EFCC is a clear improvement from Waziri and Lamode’s EFCC. They will even get better as time goes by. But they should not relent in keeping the searchlight beaming on our oppressors

    “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” – Justice Louis Brandeis

    • austin

      You are wishing for the days of your ACN judge and his MTN call logs? You are nostalgic about those days that you had a judge do your biddings and win you cases in appeal court that you could not have won otherwise. Sorry those days are over. Advise your ineffectual men to make water tight cases.
      Look at the nonsense they take to court. As a non lawyer I can see the weakness of the cases.
      Look at Orubebe’s case. So Ayo Salami would have found Orubebe guilty even after the prosecution found the money elsewhere? Saraki’s case at present is showing that the star prosecution witness is giving evidence that looks as if the defense have open their case.
      Magu is not a departure from Ribadu, Waziri, or Lamonde. Magu was part of their system and the looting they did he partook. Unless you want to tell us he is now born again.

  • Jon West

    I was at the Aso Villa, when the brave Pakistani teenager and Nobel Prize Winner, Malala Youseff came calling to greet President Jonathan and exchange ideas with a rescued Chibok Girl. A bemused Malala blurted out “My sister cant you speak English?”, when the rescued Chibok girl only spoke to her through an interpreter. This was a Nigerian girl in a Nigerian secondary school studying for an examination in Physics, the mother of all sciences, in a country where English is the national Language!!

    That excahnage really got me thinking about this Chibok saga. How come that in Borno Sate, of all the states of Nigeria, perhaps the most socially, intellectually and economically backward state of this Zoo of a country, nearly 300 girls were studying for WASC Physics examination, perhaps more than all the girls presenting the subject in WASC examination in the state of Anambra, the Numero Uno state for WASC academic achievement in Nigeria?
    The Whole thing smells of a big and well-executed scam. My apprehension was further enhanced by the fact that all the rescued girls needed translation from their Native Chibuki or Hausa whenever they were presented to the media.

    Yes, Nigeria, Borno State, the APC and its leaders Muhammadu Buhari , Bo;a Tinubu, Lai Mohammed, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir of Kano, Nasir El-Rufai, and the parents of the girls let them down. They were used to achieve regime change and havenow been abandoned to thier own devices. What a great pity, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, would say in her latest essays on feminism , if asked about the unfortunate girls of Chibok.

    • Mystic mallam

      Once again, I have to agree with you Mr. West. I have had many nagging questions about this Chibok saga and the answers do not add up, they do not add up at all. Students on the eve of sitting WASC cannot communicate in English, is WASC exam conducted in Hausa? How many trucks took nearly 300 girls away with zero challenge, through the labyrinth of JTF security in Borno state at the time? Let’s not even talk of the sheer logistics of keeping those many humans for months before graduating them to Sambisa. One has to feel shock that no one has been arrested and tried for complicity in the abduction [if there was one] of those unfortunate girls [if they existed].

      • Shehu Monguno

        Mystic Mallam, to understand the issue, it is important to know a little about the Kibaku people as we know them or the Chibok as most outsiders know them.

        Chibok is a Local Government Area of Borno State with a population of about 70,000 people. The actual town of Chibok is a small Christian town with a Muslim minority.

        Government Day Secondary School Chibok is actually a small school with a pre insurgency population of less than 700. I visited Government Secondary School Chibok in the past.

        The story of 300 girls writing Physics exams alone in SS3 in Government Day Secondary School Chibok? I doubt it. Even Federal Government Girls College Monguno, Borno state the biggest and best funded girls’ secondary school in Borno state can’t boast of that number writing physics.

        Yes girls were kidnapped, but the numbers were extremely extremely exaggerated for political reasons

        • Daniel Obior

          I follow your logic which demonstrates indeed the number may have been exaggerated. The nagging question of them being unable to speak English as final year student in a secondary school, casts a lot of doubt on whether those kidnapped (if at all) were secondary school children.

          • Shehu Monguno

            Daniel, if you grew up in my part of Northern Nigeria you will know that it is possible that there are final year students in secondary schools are unable to read and write in English, I have seen many cases.

            Some children get into Federal Government Colleges in my part of the country unable to speak a word in English. How they passed the common entrance and interview? I don’t know

          • Daniel Obior

            Most amazing; students can get to final year in the secondary school and not speak and write English! It is unbelievable, but I am learning.

          • Shehu Monguno

            Unbelievable? you people in Southern Nigeria are lucky to have had leaders like Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikwe who believed in and promoted education. Unfortunately you take these things for granted

            In many parts of northern Nigeria with the exception of areas populated by ethnic and religious minorities, our religious, traditional and political leaders saw western education as a threat to their hold on power.

            They also did not want the children of the poor competing with them for opportunities and competing with their children for jobs and opportunity in future so they kept US illiterates.

            Years back, I know the case of the son of an Emir who did not finish secondary school insisted on working in a bank.

            On resumption at the bank he realized that the bank manager who had an MBA and an ACA was the son of one of a palace guard who was lucky to have gone to school.

            The prince went back home and told his father that he cannot work under the son of a servant. The manager was transferred to another branch to enable the Prince resume work

          • Jon West

            Finally, the chicken have come home to roost. Jon West has been vindicated!!!

            Now the information is coming from the horses mouth and I must confess that I am forever morally and intellectually indebted to Shehu Monguno, who has been honest enough to call out the elite and peoples of the blighted and ignorant North of Nigeria. The truth shall set you free, but first it will exasperate and make you angry. However the truth is good for your soul. I am sure that Mr Monguno wanted to bare his heart and get out the demons tht have destroyed the fabric of soceity in the blighted and ignorant North of Nigeria.

            Now let the Southern hypocrites spewing hypocrisy and platitudes continue to make excuses for people destined for extinction by their own actions and inactions.
            I wager another prediction- very soon an honest Yoruba person will support my thesis on the influence of Afonja’s genes and legacy on Yoruba thinking over the centuries. Rotimi Lawanson had readily agreed to see my side of the story and is a believer.

            Before I am hanged and quartered by ethnic jingoistics(perhaps you can even call me one), I refuse a Federal Character presentation of Nigeria’s societal ills. I will deal with the Igbo in due course but wil let them be for now, since they are serial victims of Nigerian viciousness.

          • Hassan Abdulrasheed

            Let me follow my brother Jon foot step to say you a big thanks for your incisiveness and honesty in saying the truth. Jon, I remembered one of my friend that use to sell kerosene to me as an undergraduate in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto then, he ask, why would the school authority put ceiling fan in your hostel room and you say you are studying? Why would they give you bed to sleep and provide you with electricity and you still say you are studying? This is big enjoyment he said, because you are not suffering compare to me that is hawking kero around.
            Then, I took a deep sigh and said to myself, God so this is the same Man that would live in the country with me; without any hope. The Northern Elites have failed their people and they have conspired among themselves to deny their people every rights you can think of. But are these present southern and western elites been anything different too? May God help us.

          • Shehu Monguno

            Hassan, you people in the South really do not know how lucky you are. Education exposes a man and opens his mind. When the mind is opened, no one can take it back. Education also makes a man hard to control, this is why our elites and our blue bloods do not want the talakawas and the commoners to go to school.

            Corrupt is far worse in many parts of the core north than in the South. Appointed local government officials in my state come to work 4 days in a month – a day before the monthly allocation is released, the day monthly allocation is released, a day after monthly allocation is released and then the fourth day to clean up. We don’t see them again until the next monthly allocation.

            Corruption is the reason why Borno state gets more monthly allocation from Abuja than Anambra yet 6 Local governments in Anambra have more schools than the entire Borno state.

            Corruption is the reason why Boko Haram thrives. Boko Haram is the only source of monthly income for many young men. Money made fighting for Boko Haram is what many young men have used to start small businesses, marry wives, build houses etc.

            Is it not shameful that Boko Haram have provided more young men in my state seed money to start businesses than my state government

          • Me

            Daniel, are you saying you’ve not seen or met any graduate from the south who is not able to speak or write English (don’t add proper yet)? You can then better understand how its possible in the north given the worse case of poor education there. Fact is, we’ve a very serious problem in our hands on education, nation-wide.

          • Daniel Obior

            I have certainly not seen or met any graduate from the north or the south that is unable to speak or write English. I would never imagine the problem is that bad, as no university will award a degree to someone who in four years has not written anything on a sheet of paper. That is what being unable to write English entails.

        • Mystic mallam

          Thanks Mr Monguno for clearing some of the spiders, but the cobwebs still remain. Thanks anyways.

    • John Paul

      The Ability to speak or understand English is not a prerequisite to understanding physics, mathematics or any other science or technological subject

      Many of the top countries in math, science and technology – Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Finland, Germany and France – do not even study, analyze, communicate or practice physics or any other science or technological course in English

      With all our ability to speak English, Nigeria is not rated among the top 80 countries in math and science. Unfortunately, our math and science graduates do not even have a practical understanding of the application of math and science. That is why many of them end up working in banks, becoming government contractors, politicians or fuel marketers

      Since English is not a popular language in the North or North East, perhaps they should teach their students science and technology in Hausa, Chibuki or any of their local languages

      Maybe that way, they will have a subliminal understanding of mathematics, science and technology and become our scientists of tomorrow

      • onyema22ohaka

        You are definitely a worst liar than the lying legend lai mohammed.
        In project Nigeria zoo the last time I checked you need a good grasp of English to study & understand physics.

      • Jon West

        My dear person, I know you have been hired as an e-rat to defend the indefensible, but there is really a limit to stupidity. All these countries you have mentioned teach in their native languages. In Nigeria, English is the national language.

        Even in India where Sanskrit and the Hindu language have been used for the technology required to build the great temples and other marvels of these areas, the English language is currently the medium of instruction in schools, because of the shared history of British colonialism. In Pakistan, English is also the medium of instruction in schools. In Malaysia, they use a mixture of Malay and English. The Arabs use Arabic.
        Bottom line, we in the south of Nigeria should stop lowering the standards of everything when the North is involved. English is medium of instruction in all Nigerian schools, so we should not reduce this standard to Chibuki, Hausa and Kanuri just to please those who really hate education and western knowledge but are proud to use its products.
        John Paul, please stop this nonsense. Your principals must be really embarrassed by your posts.

      • austin

        Joe Igbokwe has outdone himself here. So physics is taught in Hausa?

      • Aleks

        And they were probably preparing to write the physics in Hausa????
        You do not have to comment on everything, even if you’re paid to do so! Some things are just too obvious that you end up making a fool of yourself in the name of trying to impress whoever you believe you’re working for!

      • 6tus

        You must be a very big fool!

        Please how do you explain plank constant (k), wavelength, angular velocity, Integration of trigonometrical ratio, binomial series, “1st, 2nd and 3rd order derivative of a function”, “differentiation and integration of polynomials”, “Limits, Functions and Continuity”, Triangular inequality, etc in any Nigerian native language?

        • temple

          Chairman you went too far,I bet you,John Paul can not grasp these talkless of chibok girls..You made my day joor!

        • John Paul

          “plank constant (k), wavelength, angular velocity, Integration of trigonometrical ratio, binomial series, “1st, 2nd and 3rd order derivative of a function”, “differentiation and integration of polynomials”, “Limits, Functions and Continuity”, Triangular inequality”
          ——————————————————————
          Has not not been applied or converted to even up to 10 hours of electricity a day in Nigeria, or our ability to transmit more than 3000 MW, for local consumption

          Sadly, many of our science graduates go to university, memorize scientific concepts, that mean absolutely nothing to them and are given advanced degrees, including Phd in physics without even understanding the practical application of what they studied

          When they talk, they sound like Lakunle, that Character in Wole Soyinka’s classic play – The Lion and the Jewel. Too much talk and no action

          When they graduate, because they do not know how to apply what they studied, they end up working in banks,becoming government contractors, politicians or fuel marketers

          So teaching science to millions of people in the North, who have refused to speak English maybe the way to go. We are not talking about teaching them, or having them memorize, the entire physics textbook

          We can start with teaching them one or two basic scientific concepts, that have immediate practical applications in their life, in their local languages, be it Cibak, Kanuri, Hausa or Fulfude

          If you go to Aba, you will meet hundreds of competent artisans who have a limited control or the English Language, in the sense that they will not score more that P(8) if they were to take English in WAEC, today.

          These artisans do not even bother to speak English. They ply their trade – repairing and refurbishing generators, engines, laptops, TVs, Smart Phones and different types of equipment, cars and machines – in the local language

          They have a basic understanding of scientific concepts like energy, inertia, friction, viscosity, mass, electricity, electrons,protons, neutrons, magnets, magnetic force, light, chemical energy and sound waves, understand its practical application and have even devised their own words to explain those concepts

          The bottomline is that we should move away from looking at a science degree as a Chieftaincy title. To that effect, we can teach very simple scientific concepts – even if it is just irrigation – and their immediate application to our Northern brothers in their local languages

          • 6tus

            It will do you good to remain in your own field of play. Basking in “good” English, is not the same as being knowledgeable in science.

            Your ranting (…Has not not been applied or converted to even up to…) above is one of the consequences of government sponsoring prigrimages, instead of building research facilities.

            Lastly, for your uninformed mind, there is a difference between “technical know-how” (eg road side technicians) and “technical know-why” (eg a certified engineer)

      • Mayo

        It never ceases to amaze me the way you stand logic on its head. This is not about you having a different POV but it’s about the fact that some of your comments stands logic on its head.

        The official language in Nigeria and our medium of instruction is English. Our Science textbooks are written in English (unless you can give an example of one that is written in Hausa). WAEC (which the girls were sitting for) is administered in NIgeria in English (unless you can show proof they also administer it in Hausa). So, the comment you were responding to is correct. How are people writing an exam which is administered in English when they cannot speak English?

        The countries you have sighted do not speak English as you said but their official language is not English. They are not taught in English. The textbooks they use are not written in English. How then are you comparing their situation to that of Nigeria?

      • Shehu Monguno

        John Paul, I am from the North East and Borno state. While the Japanese. Chinese etc are taught Physics in their own native language, in Borno state we don’t teach Physics in Kanuri, Fulfulde or Hausa or even Cibak the language of the Kibaku people as we know them or the Chibok as most outsiders know them. Physics is taught in English.

        • John Paul

          My dear brother, you are missing the point entirely

          Of course physics is not taught in Borno State in their local language. Even in the South where we have lots of science teachers, no school teaches mathematics or science in their local language

          The point is that no Nigerian should look down on our compatriots in the North East or feel that our brothers and sisters in the North East are subhuman because of their inability to speak English. For this is foolish pride

          The ability to understand and speak English is not an indication of a high IQ and is not a prerequisite to understanding physics, mathematics or any other science or technological subject

          Many of the top countries in math, science and technology – Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Finland, Germany and France – do not even study, analyze, communicate or practice physics or any other science or technological course in English

          With all of our ability to speak English, Nigeria is not rated among the top 100 countries in math and science.

          Unfortunately, our math and science graduates do not even have an understanding of the application of math and science. That is why many of them end up working in banks, becoming government contractors, politicians or fuel marketers

          Since English is not a popular language in the North or North East, perhaps they should teach their students science and technology in Hausa, Kanuri, Fulfulde, Cibak or any of their local languages

          Maybe that way, they will have a subliminal understanding of mathematics, science and technology and become our scientists of tomorrow

          • Shehu Monguno

            John Paul, we must tell ourselves the truth.

            English is Nigeria’s lingual Franca, English is the medium of communication in schools, if it is compulsory to pass English language before getting admitted to any higher institution, then it is a misnomer and a failure on our part if students writing their high school final exams can’t read, speak or write English. It is completely unacceptable

            The Germans, Dutch, Italian use their native languages as mediums of instructions in schools that is why foreigners spend 1 year on language immersion courses before starting school in those countries. If in Nigeria we have decided to use English, every student must learn English.

            John Paul, the only language the Chibok girls have been speaking is Hausa. The indigenous language of the Chibok is Cibak not Hausa and the dominant language in Borno is Kanuri not Hausa. If the Chibok girls can communicate in Hausa which is a borrowed language why not English the lingua franca of their country and the means of communication in schools or Kanuri the dominant language in their state.

            Talking about English not been a popular language in Northern Nigeria, the learning, reading and writing of foreign languages (Arabic) started in Northern Nigeria 800 years before the South.

            Islam was introduced to Northern Nigeria a little over 1,000 years ago (9th century). Along with Islam came reading and writing in Arabic. The British introduced English to Southern Nigeria less than 200 years ago.

            The question is how come Northern Nigeria a region where people have been travelling to centre of learning like Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for the last 1,000 years and learning, reading and writing in Arabic for the last 1,000 years have failed to make that transition to English language while Southern Nigeria where the British education started barely 200 years ago have left us behind.

            Finally John Paul, if we teach our students in high school in Hausa, Kanuri, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulfulde, Cibak etc, which language are we going to assess them when they get to final year? Hausa, Kanuri, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulfulde, Cibak? When they are through with secondary school are we going to open Hausa, Kanuri, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulfulde, Cibak language universities for them?

            I am a Kanuri man, but I can communicate with you because of a common language ENGLISH

          • achanya vincent

            My brother you are indeed very sound,am very proud of you.I am currently working in a higher institution in the North and a handful of those admitted this session CANNOT express themselves in simple English and the worst part is that they all have credits in English language.

          • John Paul

            Perhaps, English is not popular in the North because they already adopted Hausa and Arabic as their second language. They went from Cibak to Hausa or Arabic so the transition to English – a third language – has been difficult for them to do

            In the South, Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Benin, Esan, etc, went from their respective languages directly to the English language. And luckily for them, they picked the a language that has a plethora of advantages, including Western civilization

            So no one can argue that the ability to speak English is not an advantage.

            Many of the Japanese, South Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Finnish, German and French elite speak English fluently because English is the business and technological language of the world. They want to take advantage of the opportunities that come with the ability to speak English.

            But when a significant amount of our compatriots in the North have refused to learn the English language what do we do.

            Do we simply give up on them by not educating their minds or do we – keep on lying to ourselves – by instructing them in a language that they do not understand, promoting them to a different class, every successive year, and awarding them certificates that they have not earned

            Does it mean that the mind of someone who has sworn to speak Kanuri, Cibak, Fulfude or Hausa, until the day they die, cannot be educated or inspired

            Is the fluent in English, PhD in physics, from Northern Nigeria, without a single patent to his name, who spent his entire life becoming rich by looting the resources, that was meant for the development of his people any better than that well respected Mallam, who was not fluent in English, but raised his family, by spending 30 years of his life making the best suya, that money can buy, in Aba Sport Club

            How about the thousands of Igbo traders in Ariaria and Onitsha main market, who are not fluent in English, but who became wealthy by their ability to count, hardword and their business acumen. Not to talk about the artisans

            Are we saying that those people who can only speak Kanuri, Cibak and Fulfude cannot learn how to count in their local languages, cannot have a business acumen and cannot become world-class artisans

            How much English is required to grow rice, onions, tomatoes and raise cattle. Is English language a prerequisite to being hardworking, wise, civilized and to have the ability to persevere

            The bottomline is that the ability to read and write English is important but that does not mean that we should look down on people that cannot speak English or we cannot provide basic education, including science education, to people who cannot understand English , in their local language

          • Jon West

            Ewu Awusa!! Always making excuses for your traducers and crying more than the bereaved, all for a mess of porridge. How are fools like you created and sustained?

      • Jon West

        Ewu Awusa!! See @ Shehu Monguno and then go drown in the Lagos lagoon.

  • Patrick Otobo

    I like Simon Kolawole but he is always on the edge and always end up standing for nothing.

  • Obianaefo

    Until we are shown a spreadsheet stating: names of looter, date located, amount recovered, where the monies are domiciled etc, I refuse to endorse the so called fight against corruption. Recall that at the senate confirmation hearing Magu was unable yo say how much has been recovered. What nonsense.

  • Zico

    Media trials. There is this misconception that anti-graft agencies orchestrate media trial in respect of cases they try in court. I regard it a misconception because as a lawyer who is active legal practice, I know that journalists throng the court rooms and registries sniffing for information about cases. They do the same around the offices of the EFCC and ICPC. Even without the knowledge of the lawyers involved in the case, they obtain copies of court processes and create news for the public. They do this for criminal as well as sensational civil cases. How can we then blame the anti-graft agencies for this?

    • austin

      When EFCC video tapes the counting of money in an Ikoyi flat, how does a SaharaReporters get to have it and broadcast it. Information in court registry is in public domain. Supposed confessions in EFCC interogation is not in public domain yet it is in the news.

  • davs

    With ‘ll these Looted Fund everywhere….. I CAN NOW BELIEVE — Goodluck Ebele Jonathan — RULLING Nigeria IS A DISASTER

  • Edim Asekong

    So what’s the language of instruction in Physics, for the Chibok girls at the school/WASC level? A certain john Paul should not be heard in this forum.

  • RumuPHC

    It is a shame that Simon can blame the EFCC for conducting “media trials” . One of the cardinal objectives of the media is to expose corruption in government. Therefore it is the responsibility of the media to seek information on curription and publish same. EFCC is expected by law to oblige the media information on ongoing investigation.

    News on corruption from whatever source is no reason why the EFCC is losing high profile cases in court. Simon ought to know this if he is truly a seasoned journalist. The rich corrupt individuals hold the aces in criminal trials. They control the process from beginning by paying investigators to be sloppy and buying off prosecution counsels or their staffers .

    Also the support and promotion of Magu though commendable is however not healthy for the Agency. We elevate individuals above their organization hence the fits and starts in progress in our national agencies.

    Magu is only the chairman of EFCC. The anti graft agency should be defined as in institution and not by its helmsmen. What if Magu drops dead tommorow? Where is the EFCC board if their is a chairman or what exactly is Magu chairing ? What if the directors of departments in the Agency ? Are they not equally as committed as Magu? If not , the why are they still there ?

    The problem of EFCC is akin to the problem if Nigeria . Poor corporate governance is the bane of all our MDAs . Further defective structure can equally be attributed to the mismanagement of EFCC as an anti corruption tool of government. Over centralization of the operation of the Agency in Abuja and concentration of powers in the office of the chairman are the real Achilles heels of the EFCC.

    With or without Magu, the EFCC will continue to be a disappointment until the administrative and structural imbalances in the Agency are sorted out and corrected .

  • caltu

    A word is enough for the wise. I think that Simon has spoken in a manner that must force the FG to go back to the drawing board. Every drug has expiring date. Their current crime fighting approach has run out of steam. Though natural, corrective action is immediately required.
    As for the Chibok girls; it is like an illness left unattended for so long and has become cancerous. Truth be told, after three years, one can hardly identify this young girls as a result of the hardship they may have gone through. We need miracles, not blames.