Amnesty for treasury looters will legitimise corruption —Balarabe Musa, CACOL
A former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, says the bill before the House of Representatives seeking amnesty for treasury looters will only legitimise corruption.
Musa said in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was disappointed with the lawmakers for even discussing the bill.
“Honestly, I am terribly disappointed that a bill like that is being discussed at the National Assembly.
“The bill is immoral and it shows the level of moral degeneration the country has attained especially at the leadership level.
“The proposal, to me, is a way of legitimising corruption, because you are telling people to loot and declare, maybe, part of the loot, then you are set free.
“This is not good for Nigeria, for development and for the fight against corruption,” he said.
NAN reported that the bill, sponsored by Linus Okorie (PDP Ebonyi) was read for the first time on the floor of the House on June 14.
It seeks to allow those who looted public treasury to return certain percentage of the money in exchange for total amnesty from prosecution.
Musa, who questioned the morality of the lawmakers for even discussing the bill, urged them to drop it, saying it hurts the collective interest of Nigerians.
Also speaking on the issue, Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Mr Debo Adeniran, said if the bill was allowed to become law, it would encourage corruption with impunity.
Adeniran said what the country needed at this time were laws that would strengthen the anti-corruption war and ensure punishment for looters.
“This bill is uncalled for because the only thing it will achieve is to encourage people to steal and return part of the money for amnesty.
“At the end, it will still be victory for corruption and that is not good for the development of the country,” he said.
Adeniran also spoke on the decision of the government to publish names of looters, saying the move would go a long way in discouraging corruption.
He, however, urged the government to ensure judicious use of recovered looted funds so as to impact on the lives of the masses.
“Yes, the decision of the Federal Government to publish names of looters following a court order is a welcome development.
“We cannot say we are fighting corruption when people steal money at the expense of the generality of Nigerians and they cannot be identified. The development is good for the anti-corruption war.
“However, the government must also ensure recovered monies are channelled into development projects.
“It is not justifiable to have bad roads, unemployment and all of that when recovered monies are lying somewhere.
“So, government should not only publish the names, but also expend the recovered monies on development projects,” he said.