Chairman, House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Matters HonourableJagaba Adams represents Kachia/Kagarko Federal Constituency of Kaduna State. In this interview with RUTH CHOJI, the lawmaker makes a case that Nigerian laws be amended to include capital punishment for corrupt officials and insists that President Goodluck Jonathan lacks the political will to fight corruption.
From 2009 till date, there have been several probes, yet none of the reports have been used or implemented.What assurance is the House giving Nigerians that this trend will be ended?
The National Assembly do fact finding; we do probe to find out the actual truth.The constitution empowers us to do that. When we finish our probes, we normally lay it on the table of the executive because they have the power to persecute. We have the power to investigate. All the probes ever have been given to the executive.
So it is the responsibility of Nigerians to go and challenge them on why they have not been implemented.Nigerians are getting more enlightened by the day. Nigerians should force the executive to prosecute those found guilty; jail them and make them refund what they have stolen.
Nigerians are beginning to feel that the anti-graft agencies have failed; do you subscribeto their total scrapping as is being suggested in some quarters?
I want you to know that, the executive arm does not have the political will to fight this corruption headlong. All this anti-graft agencies are arms of government.
Like the issue of subsidy probes, as a committee, we have sent a letter to the EFCC to persecute this people. I want to see what this chairman can do because he has learnt from Ribadu and Waziri. I want to believe he is in a better position to handle these issues.
Corruption is the bane of Nigeria.Given an opportunity to do a template to eradicate corruption, what would it be?
Number one is to amend the laws. The laws we have in this country encourage corruption. Somebody will steal money; take the issue of Bode George.He was accused of stealing billions, but how many months did he do in prison? Today he is a free man.
In Nigeria, if you can steal enough money, you can use part of the money to buy your freedom.If we truly want to fight corruption, then we should table our laws like the Asians law. When somebody steals one million, hang him.
The spirit of the law is to deter, if you see the provision of the law, it should scare you not to commit a crime. Somebody will steal seventy billion and go to jail for two years and come back and enjoy your money. If we have a situation for instance, a government official steals one million naira and he was made to spend twenty-four years in prison with no option, that will send a strong message.
Anybody above that, hang him and while you are hanging them, bring primary school children and show them what will happen if tomorrow they did the same thing; show it live on television.It will begin to work on the psyche of Nigerians that this thing Is bad.
But what is happening today?The best pen robbers are being crowned traditional rulers, they have traditional titles.In fact, the government even gives them national honor.
As a member of the House, if my earnings supersede my investment, I should be prosecuted. But if I am a member and I buy a jet, where did the money come from? If I am a minister and built an estate that does not tally with my code of conduct declaration I should be prosecuted.
So the law should be deliberately designed to discourage people from committing such offence. When you look at the ICPC Act,Section 24 says “if you use your position to acquire wealth, give contract to your children, to your wife or associate is an offence.
If you proceed under that section, you will find that, if you inflate contract, they jail you for two years or fine you a hundred thousand. You don’t do that, if you inflate contract, life sentence. If they sell a cup one naira in the market and you inflate it to ten naira, you should go for life.This will discourage people. So our laws are not targeted to fight corruption, they are rather encouraging corruption.
When you steal lots money, you can buy the best lawyers in town to come and defend. You can influence the court room and the investigators. Secondly our lawyers and judges should help the system even with the laws we have.
There is no business for a lawyer to come and do delay tactics because he has been giving money;The lawyer will bring frivolous injunction, lots of motions to delay the case.They are being unfair to this nation. They should allow this people to be jailed. There is no reason why a judge should give a criminal a soft landing place.
They are not helping themselves or this nation. There is no reason why society should celebrate criminals, we should team up and fight people that steal money. If today we don’t sell crude oil for one month, we cannot pay salaries because people are looting the money and we are celebrating them.
Were you surprised with some of the revelations that came up from the probe on the capital market and subsidy report?
Actually I am not surprised because Nigeria and Nigerians are corrupt. We are yet to come out of it. What is happening regarding the two probes is just a needle in the sack of sand. It just one aspect of subsidy; we have not talked about crude oil exploration, the people involved.
We have not talked about the actual money being made; we have not yet talked about the account where this monies s is being deposited. This is just the smallest unit in the NNPC. As you can see the National Assembly is doing its best. From the beginning, Eteh tried to cover up with sentiments, but you know that sentiments don’t last; they cannot take the place of facts.
Facts are facts anywhere. If they had a problems, I though the probe will offer her the opportunity to state it. Not to bring the sentiments she tried to weep.
Many Nigerian have died because they lost shares through connivance, the share index dropped drastically. I am happy that these things are happening today. Why am I saying so? Before these areas are no go areas, nobody in Nigeria has ever gone to NNPC to challenge it.
This is the first probe ever in the history of this country. By the time we pick another aspect of the petroleum industry and probe, things will start changing. Look at the issue of pension, who ever thought that it will ever be probe? Because the people have looted blood money, many people have died as a result of unpaid pension and this guys loot money and build mighty hotels; they build mansions and, own some overseas.
Their children are living as if they are children of King Solomon, using blood money. What is happening now in my view is just a foundation we are laying for a solid Nigeria. Definitely we are going to uproot corruption.
The insecurity in the north has taken a worse turn; are you worried?
I am worried because this is a new and strange thinghappening in Nigeria. The civil war our parents fought sought to bring Nigerian together as one country. But this particular one seeks to separate Nigeria.
This one has influx of people from Niger Republic, Chad and the rest. If it is not properly checked, it is unfortunate but Nigeria has to be redefined.
When you say redefine, do you believe that it could lead to disintegration? Is the security incapable of handling this situation?
We have security challenges. And we in the north are not doing enough to stop it. We know that these guys are visitors, yet we give them houses to stay, we don’t report them to police or immigration, we harbor these people and they turn around to harm us. We should come out and report these people.
Village head should tell their community leaders the strangers in their mist. As poor as Nigeria republic is today, no matter how wealthy you are, when you go to Niger, they know that a visitor has come.
They will go and tell their chief and they will investigate. But in Nigeria we don’t care about that; we allow people to stay with us in the name of religion, ‘Ah, they are my Muslim brothers, let me accommodate them’. I can tell you that, there are many Nigeriens that are in high profile offices in Nigeria today.
They keep harboring their relations and it is because we Nigerians have not woken up to do the right thing. If it reaches a level, we may have no choice but to go our separate ways.
But some Nigerians have been calling for a Sovereign National Conference and the National Assembly is against it. How do Nigerians come together to solve the problems?
There is no other SNC than the National Assembly. Our being here is a SNC itself. There is no part of this country that doesn’t have a representative in the House.
So those calling for it still have the hang-over of military regimes because it was during military regimes that you needed that. If you want something, sponsor it. We are undergoing a constitutional amendment; you can bring you bill or whatever it is you want to us to do for you.
You mentioned constitutional review; are you in support of creation of more states?
I am at the vanguard of it. Let me put the record straight;Southern Kaduna is overdue for a state. Everybody knows that. Nassarawa State created from Plateau State was supposed to be Southern Kaduna State, but because of the border problems.
The population of Southern Kaduna is more than Plateau ad Nassarawa put together.It is close to four million. Nassarawa State is one point, something million.Take the population of Nassarawa State and add with Plateau and it won’t be up to that of Southern Kaduna. So if there should be any new state in Nigeria, it should be GuraraState.
Some have attributed this agitation to the way the state is divided between religious lines
I don’t look at it from that perspective. The Hausa Fulani you are talking about has the same perspective like all of us. They are in support. We are doing it based on the population and the economic viability of the new state.
A senator coming from Southern Kaduna has the highest votes in all the senatorial district of Nigeria, he always wins with nothing less than one million votes.
While in other states, some people have become governors with one hundred and fifty thousand votes, which is less than the population of people in southern Kaduna. When they get two hundred votes for governor, they will say they have land slide victory, which is for a local government in Southern Kaduna.