The Former chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, has revealed that he was pressurized to compromise investigations throughout the two years he served as the SPIP boss.
Obono-Obla was declared a wanted man by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences for failing to honour the commission’s summon.
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Obono was suspended through a letter which was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on August 14, 2019, after approval by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
After being declared wanted by the ICPC on October 22, 2019, there was suspicion that he had fled Nigeria on August 17, 2019.
According to Obono-Obla, he did not enjoy his tenure as the SPIP chairman because he was always asked to compromise investigations, and his refusal to comply made people hate him.
He said, “One of the most difficult jobs, challenging job, stressful job, delicate, dangerous is the one of fighting corruption in a traditional society such as Nigeria! In Nigeria, you have traditional rulers who are customarily the leaders of their various kingdoms and societies! You have religious leaders that command great influence because Nigerians are naturally very religious people!
“You have political leaders and all sorts of leaders that demand and exact (sic) all forms of power and influences! You have age mates, school mates and all sorts of friends! In Nigeria everyone knows one another! All these people try to influence the anti-corruption fighter on how he is doing his or her job!
“When you are approached you are not required to say no! You are supposed to accommodate, compromise and bend the rules for the person they have come to talk to you about! When you refuse their pressure you are seen as a hard, uncompromising, difficult, wicked, mean and a ‘non-team player’!
“I had this experience in my work as the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for two years! It was not a pleasant experience! You end up falling out with a lot of people in the community in the ‘team’!
“So when I had some issues recently, some of those who used to come to put pressure on me were the first that went to town to say unpleasant things because you refused to pander to their overtures to compromise.”