The Muslim Congress (TMC), a faith-based organisation, has commended the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP), set up by the Federal Government to recover public property for a job well-done.
The TMC Committee on Social Mobility, the Economy & Politics gave the commendation during the presentation of 12th series of its quarterly State of The Nation Address at weekend in Lagos.
It also called on the federal government to speed up its dialogue, on minimum wage, with the stakeholders in order to arrive at a figure that will ease the daily burdens of the Nigerian workers.
“We commend the efforts of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) for the recovery of public property.
“As at the last count, the SPIP has recovered over N4 billion and another $7 million in cash as well as physical assets in its various operations.
“This organ has again highlighted how some politicians and public officials are colluding to steal the nation’s resources to the detriment of the Nigerian masses who continue to wallow in abject poverty despite being blessed with stupendous wealth,’’ Alhaji Taiwo Bamgbala, Secretary-General of TMC, who presented the address said.
According to him, the SPIP, which was inaugurated by the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in August 2017, has shown that Nigeria cannot develop except there is a rigorous and sustained fight against corruption.
The committee commended the chairman of SPIP, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla for recovering $7 million from the previous management of the Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank.
“The sum of N533 million and landed property valued at N1.5 billion were also recovered from the former NEXIM Bank management and returned to the bank.
“SPIP also recovered N24 million allegedly misappropriated by some directors of the National Theatre, and two hectares of land worth N2 billion belonging to the National Council for Arts and Culture.
“Also recovered is a part of the Agura Hotel, illegally annexed by some so-called “powerful persons” with untouchable connections for over 20 years. This property has been returned to its rightful owners, the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“The SPIP also recovered 86 assorted vehicles valued at N500 million, six houses in highbrow areas of Abuja and a large farm in Abuja from a director in the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.’’
The committee said that the issue was not about how much Nigeria earns but about how much is stolen.
It, therefore, noted that the 2019 General Election “must be about sustaining the fight against corruption and the integrity and credibility of the candidates seeking political offices’’.
Meanwhile, the TMC committee noted with delight, the affirmation of the constitutionality of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Executive Order No. 6 by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division.
“This executive order permits the Federal Government to confiscate assets belonging to persons facing corruption-related charges.
“The court held that the president did not act beyond the power available to him under the constitution.
“The executive order preserves suspected property from being dissipated while investigation or trial is on-going.
“We give kudos to Justice Ojukwu for this judgement that will enhance the anti-corruption efforts of this administration and also boost the efforts on recovery of stolen assets.
“This is a right step in the right direction and it will ensure that our commonwealth is returned to the people,’’ the committee stated in the quarterly address.
ON THE MINIMUM WAGE TO NIGERIAN WORKERS
On the minimum wage discourse, TMC committee remarked that the Nigerian workers definitely deserve a rise in their take-home pay, having been on the receiving end for so long in our chequered history.
“The long-suffering workers deserve every comfort they can get in order to live a more comfortable and less-stressful life.
“In 2011, the National Minimum Wage Act set workers’ wage at N18,000 per month and to be revised every five years.
“An upward review is, therefore, justified by the fact that the cost of living has increased considerably,’’ Bamgbala said.
It urged the federal government to speed up its dialogue with the stakeholders in order to arrive at a figure that will ease the daily burdens of the Nigerian workers.
“That amount should also be in consultation with the state governments, especially owing from the fact that most of the states are already defaulting in paying the N18,000 minimum wage.
“But more importantly, governments at all levels must speed up the development of public infrastructure and also step up financial inclusion.
“These two steps will further complement the increase in minimum wage to make life more meaningful for the people.
“The organised labour should also show understanding and ensure that the laudable agitation does not lead to the breakdown of services across the sectors.’’
By our correspondent