New Telegraph

Corruption: HEDA, Youths Protest At EFCC, ICPC

…urge anti-graft agencies to prosecute $1.6trn high profile unresolved cases

The personnel of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), and some youths on Thursday peacefully protested at the Lagos Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Lagos office of the Independent Corrupt Practises and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

They urged the anti-graft bodies to prosecute to the end high-profile cases said to amount to over $1.6trn.

The protesters sang anti-corruption songs and carried placards with inscriptions. Some of the inscriptions are: ’EFCC and ICPC do your job. Hold corrupt officials accountable.’ ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ ‘Corruption must end: Diligent prosecution is your statutory duty.’

‘Protest to EFCC &ICPC against un-investigated alleged corruption cases over $825,679,500.000 stolen between 1999-2022.’ ‘Corruption is killing our future.’ ‘Stop shielding corrupt officers. Take action now. ‘Corruption must end: Diligent prosecution is your statutory duty.’ ‘Say no to impunity: Prosecute corrupt politicians and others now.’

Legal Officer, HEDA Resource Centre, Barrister David Ogungbesan, said they were at the EFCC and ICPC offices to remind the anti-corruption agencies of their statutory responsibilities, which he said, perhaps, they might have forgotten or they might have ignored.

He explained that the protest is an annual project undertaken by the HEDA Resources Centre to bring into the limelight some issues of national concerns and development.

Ogungbesan said, “This year, HEDA has decided to walk to the Lagos Zonal offices of the EFCC and ICPC in order to remind them of their statutory responsibilities of ridding Nigeria of corruption, stealing of public funds and economic sabotage.

“HEDA Resource Centre some days ago had its 30th Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR) in Abuja wherein we reviewed the fight against corruption under Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and set agenda for President Bola Tinubu. It is on that premise that we deem it fit to urgently remind the current administration of corruption cases that have been left un-investigated and or un-prosecuted.

“On the 18th day of February, HEDA Resource Centre unveiled a research compilation which contained numerous cases of corruption and probes that have not made it to the court and have remained unresolved to date titled: “Impunity Galore: A Chronicle of Some High Profile Unresolved Corruption Cases in Nigeria.”

“The total amount involved in all the cases reported is $1,623,584,000,000 (One Trillion, Six Hundred and Twenty-Three Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy-Nine Million and Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars).”

He explained that the primary aim of the protest was to bring back to the limelight unresolved corruption cases depriving Nigerians a prosperous nation and to also encourage public demand of action on the unresolved cases of corruption, especially the ones reported in the HEDA’s publication.”

He decried that it is not in doubt that the amount stolen by few individuals if judiciously utilised, would have taken Nigerian from a developing nation to a developed country where every modern facility and infrastructure, and social support are in place for the citizens.

He added that this would have in turn positively impacted the standard of living of the masses and further abridge the poverty gap.

He called on all law enforcement agencies, especially the EFCC and ICPC to rise up to their statutory responsibilities, irrespective of whose ox is gored, by investigating all cases of corruption especially those mentioned in HEDA’s publication.

Ogungbesan said, “Nigeria is currently in a precarious situation with the continuous rise in prices of fuel, gas, food and basic necessities, and insecurity which have adversely affected cost of living and the government in its bid to increase its revenue keeps introducing new taxes to the detriment of businesses and citizens.

“It is our position that the anti-corruption agencies can retrieve this huge amounts of money for the country by resolving all the corruption cases. Thus, saving Nigerians from the current economic hardship and turning Nigerian into prosperous nation.

‘This is a clarion call on all law enforcement agencies and President Tinubu’s administration to take the fight against corruption seriously.”

Officials of HEDA later presented the book containing unresolved high-profile corruption cases to the EFCC officials and the Resident Anti-Corription Commissioner, ICPC, Lagos, Mr Kabir Elelu.

Elelu commended the protesters and assured them that he will send their concerns to the ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Olufunmileyi Owasanoye, (SAN).

He said, “Let me thank you for your efforts, not because of your visit today, we know HEDA well and I think it is a partner with the commission before now.

“We also know that we have some issues. You have taken us to court on some cases. This one you have presented, I am only the person in charge of the Lagos Division, I believe it is meant for my Chairman, Prof Owasanoye. I want to assure you that I will pass it and action will be taken.”

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