“Our lawmakers must realize that only a harmonious relationship between the executive and the lawmakers can give Nigerians the dividends of democracy. But corruption has been the monster standing between the latter and the citizenry. “
In a press statement released to the Herald on Monday, November 25, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) had disclosed this in a statement released The Herald on Monday, November 25, in which it urged the ninth National Assembly (NASS) to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his efforts to put Nigeria back on the right track.
“Nigeria has seen better times in terms of the attitude of the legislature. The ninth NASS must distance itself from the parliamentary rascality for which the eighth NASS was known. Decorum was thrown to the winds under Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara.
“It was the era of rebellious and unscrupulous lawmakers, legislative charlatans, traitors of the cause of democracy, enemies of probity and accountability and champions of lootocracy. Bitter politics made the eighth NASS delay the budget for seven months during which the masses whistled for their dinner while lawmakers had breakfast in Rome, lunch in Florence and dinner in Venice. It was the age of theatricals and professional tree-climbers took the driving seat. The leadership of the eighth Senate saw himself as invincible until the ‘O to gee’ revolution pulled the rug from his feet from far away Kwara.
“However, Nigerians have seen the difference in the ninth NASS. We have seen purposeful leadership and patriotism in the new crop of legislators. These must translate to result-oriented legislation. Our lawmakers must realize that only a harmonious relationship between the executive and the lawmakers can give Nigerians the dividends of democracy. But corruption has been the monster standing between the latter and the citizenry.
“Transparency International (TI) ranked Nigeria the most corrupt nation in 2001, second most corrupt in 2003 and third most corrupt in 2004. Just a few years back, Tony Blair, former British prime minister, described Nigeria as ‘fantastically corrupt’.
“Unfortunately for us, the existing laws are full of flaws which thieves leverage upon to escape justice while they keep enjoying their loot. This is why Nigeria is in dire need of special courts to try looters. A drastic problem requires a drastic solution. Nigeria’s corruption problem is extraordinary. President Vladimir Putin of Russia has been quoted as saying, ‘To fight corruption in a corrupt system, you don’t follow due process, you follow the necessary process’.
“It is our contention that Nigeria must ‘follow the necessary process’ without any delay because we are in an almost helpless situation. Many even believe that our condition is irredeemable. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of society. It is so bad that the average Nigerian believes that honesty is stupidity. People of integrity are derided. They are held in contempt by members of their family and shunned by friends.
The human rights group called on the NASS to rescue Nigeria.
“The ninth National Assembly must come to the nation’s rescue. It is therefore not just about President Muhammadu Buhari. It is about Nigeria. The current NASS, especially Senate, must therefore set the machinery in motion for the establishment of special courts to try looters. The existing courts are being bogged down by technicalities and red-tapism. Our people say if a child masters the art of dying, the mother must perfect the art of immortality. If looters are bent on using part of their booty to beat prosecution, our lawmakers must design ways of beating them in their own game.
“Our lawmakers must therefore up their game. They must be innovative in their efforts to save this country from the clutches of looters. There must be no procrastination. Nigerians expect to see the bill on special courts on the table within the next three weeks. We must remember that every regime has its stipulated life span. Four years have been wasted by the traitors in the eighth NASS. So we have barely three and a half years to go in PMB’s tenure. There is no time to lose.
“In addition to special courts to try looters, we call upon the ninth NASS to support bills sponsored by the executive, to give us a bill on hate speech, to give speedy approval to presidential projects and confirm its nominees without undue delay. There is no doubt that fifth columnists, subjective critics and an indecent opposition will taunt and incite the lawmakers but we expect seasoned members of the NASS to remain level-headed. They must not play to the gallery.
MURIC recommended speedy trials, death sentence and life imprisonment for looters through the special courts.
“If looters who are less than 1% of the population can arrogate to themselves more than 85% of Nigeria’s total wealth, if kleptomaniacs can sentence more than 198 million Nigerians to a life of total darkness, pot-hole ridden roads, hunger, illiteracy and disease, why shouldn’t we have special courts that will sentence the same looters to life imprisonment or even death (as in China) after speedy trials?
“In our concluding remarks, we charge the ninth NASS to cooperate fully with President Muhammadu Buhari in the interest of Nigeria. We demand bills for the creation of special courts to try looters. We urge the NASS to ignore the tauntings, insinuations and provocations from fifth columnists. We call for the support of legislators for bills sponsored by the executive, approval for its projects and speedy confirmation for its nominees.”