THE endemic nature of corruption in Nigeria is as embarrassing as it has hampered development. It is indeed a cancerous malignant that has eroded the socio-political and economic lives of Nigeria and Nigerians. Even though successive governments have mouthed the fight against corruption since the return of the country to democracy in 1999, the global corruption rating of Nigeria shows that the war against corruption is yet to be won in Nigeria. Distressingly, all sectors of Nigeria have been emasculated by corruption, leaving behind tales of woes, or carcasses of debilitated institutions.
PROTRACTED high profile corruption cases, involving people like the former Accountant General of the Federation, Heads of pension funds, and educational institutional agencies like JAMB, are pointedly indicative of the financial malfeasances and strangulations ongoing in most government institutions, and how resources get drained through corruption account for the zero development in the country. As Nigerians hope upon hope that corruption will not kill their dearest nation, as warned by former President Muhammadu Buhari, the albatross keeps resurging, very dangerously and virulently. At any rate, Nigeria’s fight against corruption has been rendered ineffective, and reduced to the chasing of mere shadow, as the country ranked 150 in global corruption rating by Transparency International (TI), out of the 180 countries that were evaluated in 2022.
The Hope is alarmed by the details that emanated from the court martial and conviction of a retired army General, Umaru Mohammed, for corruption, by a Nigerian Army Special Court in Abuja. The retired General was sentenced to seven years imprisonment after he was tried on 18 counts, relating to forgery, misappropriation of funds, and conspiracy, among others. Apart from the seven years imprisonment for different offences that was the culmination of the concurrency of the imprisonment, General Mohammed was ordered to pay back to the Nigerian Army properties Limited sum running to millions of dollars, and with a street conversion totaling N3.7bn.
One cannot but be awed by the gluttony of a high-ranking officer of the Nigerian Army, from whom discipline and accountability were required, after being graciously saddled with the responsibility of institutional development and personal enhancement. We are taken aback by the treachery that some Nigerians have brought into public service. We also continue to monitor the discussions around the desirability of a special court to try corruption cases, as the country explores all possibilities in the fight against this monster.
The Hope commends the authorities of the Nigerian Army for doing a good job, promptly, by making one of the bad eggs among it to be subjected to scrutiny, and brought to book for his financial infractions. It is a great delight that the Nigerian Army that was reckoned in the past as the hotbed of corruption is now frontally addressing corruption. It is an open secret that military governments in Nigeria were believed to have institutionalised corruption in the country, with some individuals within the Nigeria Army still fingered in recurring corruptive activities, like the stealing of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
While The Hope acknowledges the enviable approach of the Nigerian Army to confront corruption, we would, nonetheless, charge it to prevent a repeat of this ignoble act, by emplacing appropriate measures that would forestall corruption in the noble profession. We are also confident that the diligent prosecution and sanctioning of General Mohammed will serve as deterrence to others with the same odious orientation and greedy predilection.
We also use this opportunity to urge other security agencies to look inwards, and sanitise their systems, as Nigerians across all divides are called upon to join in the fight against corruption, as its cancerous propensities have roundly robbed the country of decency, development, and stability on all spheres of life. No doubt, the country we merely desire is not the same thing as the nation we emplace by our acts and deeds.