Convictions in #Dasukigate need to move from the media to the courts

Last week at the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his fight against corruption calling his fight “a step in the right direction.” He also reiterated comments made by the Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, stating that over 50 people, including government officials, have stolen over $9 billion in Nigeria.

Last week, the Nigerian Minister of Information gave a report stating that 55 Nigerians stole a total of N1.34 trillion in the space of eight years, between 2006 and 2013. He also remarked that 15 former governors are responsible for stealing a total sum of N146.84 billion, 4 former ministers looted N7 billion and 12 former federal and state public servants stole over N14 billion. However, like President Buhari, he refused to reveal the identity of the guilty parties, thereby raising questions surrounding when this particular chapter would end.

Despite all the arrests made by the EFCC in ongoing investigations on the $2.1 billion arms deal fraud that occurred in the office of the Nigerian Security Adviser in the last administration, there have, surprisingly, been no convictions yet. With over N39 billion allocated to the Ministry of Information in the 2016 budget, Nigerians expect the ministry to do a better job than circulate the stale news of looted funds by corrupt leaders.

Will Nigeria ever get to witness a conviction for these frauds? The country’s judicial process always seems to take too long and currently, it appears the trials are only being carried out in the media. Though the war against corruption is commendable, Nigerians need assurance that the arrest of current offenders will lead to convictions, considering the fact that some notable statesmen have been declared guilty of corruption previously, but always manage to escape jail terms.

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