The Civil Liberties organization (CLO), on Tuesday, threw its weight behind the Senate-led by Bukola Saraki, to disregard blackmails and intimidation from any quarters, charging it to go on with its probe of the alleged rip-off of the nation in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) transfers.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, the CLO noted that Section 162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is crystal clear on TSA when it states that “the federation shall maintain a special account to be called the Federation Account into which all revenues collected by the government of the federation except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the ministry or department of government charged with foreign affairs and the residents of the FCT, Abuja.”
Ezike said: “It’s therefore, dumbfounding how the present administration came about the appointment of an electronic collection agent, System Specs, to handle the TSA transfers at 1 per cent commission, by which it is alleged to have earned well over N25 billion.
“Besides, assuming it were constitutional to appoint an e-collection, it has not been established that there was a transparent and competitive process towards the selection of the said e-collection agent.
“The CLO is, therefore, totally on the same page with the Senate on this matter. We support Senate’s call on the CBN to suspend such unconstitutional transactions. We also fully support the decision of the Senate to probe the entire matter and come out with the truth about the alleged fraud.”
Furthermore, the CLO Executive Director said “The CLO is disturbed by the news report that there were painstaking efforts by certain Senators to sabotage the patriotic motion by Senator Dino Melaye urging the Hallowed Chambers to fully investigate the corruption and bring the perpetrator(s) to book. We make bold to say that any Nigerian who is against this nationalistic move by the Senate to rid Nigeria of graft is not only against the APC change ideology but an enemy of Nigeria.
“We were very disturbed to read that the late commencement of plenary on that day, and eventual boycott of plenary by some Senators, was a fallout of the said Senators’ alleged inability to stop the day’s business or expunge such a critical motion from the Order Paper.
“Such ugly stories are the last things Nigerians expect to hear in this administration. We urge the Senate to not only probe the said TSA graft, but also beam its searchlights on its own members that allegedly tried to sabotage the motion seeking the investigation of the said scandal. It cannot not be imagined that Senators who are supposed to protect the people and the nation by their oversight function over the other arms of government from abuse of the law, due process and theft of public funds, tried to cover up such shady deals by unscrupulous politicians.
“This event justifies CLO’s insistence that the leadership of the legislature must always emerge independent of external influences and executive interference if we must move our country forward as a nation.
“Importantly, it is very pertinent to emphasise that Nigerians elected President Muhammadu Buhari in the hope that he would lead a government that would stamp out corruption from our body polity. The said over N25 billion TSA scandal at a time when Mr. President had announced to the whole world in India that Nigeria was “broke” is certainly not a good commentary on an administration supposedly founded on integrity and headed by this President. We are worried that despite all the shouts if this allegation is anything near the truth, it is still business as usual.
“Lastly, while we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to open his eyes wide (shine his eyes) concerning happenings around him and his administration because Nigerians will ultimately hold him responsible for any misdeeds by his government, CLO enjoins all well-meaning Nigerians, the media, opposition and the CSOs to remain extra-vigilant and actively watch over the conduct of public affairs by office holders to ensure absolute compliance with the law and due process.
“President Buhari alone cannot build a transparent, open, just, equitable, accountable and truly democratic Nigerian society but all Nigerians can,” affirmed the CLO.