Events of Year 2017: Scandals

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President Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

 

Buhari Corruption war Shaken by Scandals

 

THE year 2017, has its fair share of scandals across the globe. Nigerians are not likely to forget in a hurry the spill over scandalous corruption allegations against Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, who was indicted of corruption by the Senate and Ayo Oke, a former director-general whose actions seemed to have negated corruption war of the government. In a scandalous manner both government officials lost their job, but yet to be prosecuted.

On April 19, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the suspension of his treasured SGF and Ayo Oke, a former director general of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, over the discovery of huge amount of money in a vacant flat in Ikoyi, Lagos. Buhari then set up a three-man committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate allegations against the two senior government officials.

Six months after, October 30, precisely, President Buhari sacked Lawal and Oke based on the recommendation by Osinbajo panel.

The president also appointed Boss Mustapha, the boss of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, as the new SGF.

Lawal had been on April 19, 2017, accused of graft and alleged involvement in the N200 million grass-cutting contract of Presidential Initiative in the North East, PINE. The NIA DG was suspended over the discovery of N13 billion in an Ikoyi apartment, said to belong to the NIA.

The Nigeria Police had on Tuesday, February 7, said that they recovered N111.3 million from 23 INEC officials who conducted the December 10, 2016 rerun in Rivers State. The cash, they claimed, was part of the N360 million bribe allegedly paid by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to compromise electoral and security officials for his party’s candidates to win.

The unnamed officials were also indicted for their involvement in the violence that occurred during the election, the police said. Police said six of their men indicted for their role during the election had been dismissed. They would also be prosecuted.

Wike
Wike

But in his reaction, Wike described the allegation as a blackmail, saying the report of the committee set up by Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of Police, IGP, which probed the December 10 last year’s bloody legislative rerun, was “shameful” “defamatory” and “reckless.”

In a reaction put forward by Austin Tam-George, commissioner for Information and Communications, on Tuesday, February 7, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the state government claimed that the committee was being economical with the truth.

He said the heaps of money shown as evidence as a ruse. He said: “The Rivers State Government challenges the Nigeria Police to show proof that Governor Wike financially induced any official of INEC. Do the police have bank records of the purported transactions between Governor Wike and the electoral officers? We challenge the Nigeria police to move quickly to prosecute and imprison the so-called electoral officers on the basis of this dubious investigation.”

On Tuesday, February 21, the EFCC said it had concluded arrangements to prosecute Gogo Anderson Waribo, a deputy director of the INEC in Akwa Ibom State, and former electoral officer in Rivers State, for bribe-taking.

Waribo allegedly collected N16 million from the N23 billion slush fund linked to Diezani Allison-Madueke, a former Petroleum minister, during the 2015 general election, with the aim of influencing the outcome of the election.

He was arrested by the EFCC operatives following report that some INEC officers conspired with some staff of Fidelity Bank to defraud the federal government of several millions of naira, Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of the EFCC, said on Tuesday, February 21.

Although Waribo denied the allegations, investigation revealed that the INEC deputy director’s name was on the list of the “bribe takers”, Uwujaren said.

It was revealed that he received N16 million through his First Bank account on March 27, 2015 and gave N5 million to Peter Popnen, an ex- INEC official.

Waribo was expected to be arraigned as soon as investigation was completed.

On April 9, 2017, O’Hare International Airport police forcibly removed passenger David Dao from United Express Flight 3411 after he refused to depart the airplane upon the demand of management. Dao screamed as officers pulled him out of his seat, and his face hit an armrest during the struggle. Officers then dragged him, apparently unconscious, by his arms on his back along the aircraft aisle past rows of on-looking passengers. He was later seen with blood around his mouth.

Prior to the confrontation, managers offered travel vouchers to passengers to vacate their seats to make room for four airline employees who needed to travel to the destination, Louisville International Airport, but none of the passengers accepted. Four passengers were then selected for involuntary removal from the flight. Three other passengers complied, and Dao was selected to be fourth. Republic Airline operated the scheduled passenger flight on behalf of United Express, a United Airlines regional branch.

Video of the incident recorded by passengers went viral on social media, resulting in outrage over the violent incident. Politicians expressed concern and called for official investigation. Trump criticised United Airlines, calling treatment of their customer “horrible.”

On April 27, 2017 a scandal arose when a team from the Commission of Human Rights, CHR, raided the Manila Police District, MPD, station 1 in Tondo, Manila, Philippines and discovered about 12 men and women were being detained inside a cell hidden behind a bookshelf. It was reported that these prisoners, inside the said jail were being held by the police allegedly to be released only upon payment of ransom.

In August, Grace Mugabe, the then Zimbabwe’s first lady, allegedly beat up and injured a young woman who was partying with her two sons in South Africa.

Gabriella Engels, 20, a model, who threatened to take the former first lady to court, sent out pictures of a wound in her head which she said was caused by the first lady during the confrontation on Sunday night, August 13.

Bulawayo 24, a Zimbabwe news site, claimed the country’s first lady then attacked Engels with an extension cord after finding her in a hotel with Robert Jnr, 25,  and Chatunga 21, her sons. Both sons were allegedly unsteady on their feet after a long party.

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