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National Assembly is haven of corruption – OBJ

imageFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo recently painted a graphic picture of how members of the National Assembly (NASS), allegedly extort money from government officials and contractors.
He spoke in Abuja at the public presentation of “The Story of My Two Worlds: Challenges, Experiences And Achievements,” the autobiography of Justice Mustapha Akanbi, the pioneer chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC). Obasanjo said the NASS is a haven of corruption and regretted that the executive arm of government was also complicit in bribing lawmakers.
He said, “Apart from shrouding the remunerations of the National Assembly in opaqueness and without transparency, they indulge in extorting money from departments, contractors and ministries in two ways.”
Explaining the process of the extortion, he noted that “they do so during visits to their projects and programmes and in the process of budget approval when they build up budgets for ministries and departments, who agree to give it back to them in contracts that they do not execute. They do similar things during their inquiries.”
The former president added that, “Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects which they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.”
On the complicity of the executive, Obasanjo said: “In all this, if the executive is not absolutely above board, the offending members of the National Assembly resort to subtle or open threat, intimidation and blackmail. When the executive pays the huge money, normally in millions of dollars, all is quiet in form of whitewashed reports that fail to deal effectively with the issues investigated.”
Regretting that a corrupt National Assembly cannot be relied upon to hold the Presidency accountable, he noted that “when the guard is the thief, only God can keep the house safe and secure.”
He, however, expressed optimism that “that sooner than later, we will overcome,” saying that “God will give us guards of integrity and honesty with the fear of God and genuine love of their people and their country.”
He lamented that graft has permeated many facets of Nigeria’s national life, adding: “Today, there is no institution of government that is not riddled with corruption, not even the military. As the people cry out, where then is the salvation?”

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