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Friday, 4 January 2013

Dino Melaye; a Justice Crusader or...? By Dr. Nwambu Gabriel

The Global Centre for Conscious Living Against Corruption (GLOCCOLAC), an Anti- Corruption Civil Society Organization has once again beamed its search light on the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and took an in-depth investigations and fact finding exercise on the allegations against the Minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe.

Corruption has indeed ravaged the economies of so many countries with Greece inclusive. Nigeria is at the centre stage with staggering revelations and evidences of corruption emerging daily. Corruption is greatly responsible for the high poverty in the Nigerian nation; this explains why the majority of the nation’s population are determined to fight this hydra headed monster to a halt. But in doing this, it becomes inevitably pertinent to insist on proper verification and fact- finding of information especially about public servants before feeding the public as allegations of corruption are grave offenses. Fight against corruption must therefore be objective, precise, unearthing the truth, facts and realities of every corruption allegation as proof beyond all reasonable doubt in a court of competent jurisdiction as the case may be. For the purpose of clarity, let’s analyse these points one after the other.

First, Mr Dino Melaye once alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta awarded phantom contracts to communities and project sites that were not in real existence. GLOCCOLAC visited these communities as stated in the project title/description, that is, Canalization/River Training at Foupolo Bulou Ndoro Creek, Canalization at Odoubou Ogbobagbene and the site for Land Reclamation/ Shoreline Protection at Ogbobagbene in Burutu LGA of Delta State and discovered that these communities do not only exist in its real sense, but that Nigerian citizens are resident in these communities with well institutionalized King, Chiefs and Youths organizations respectively. We also discovered that the project sites are in true existence with visible evidence of remarkable jobs executed by contractors. The situation even calls for more concern as these sites are with overwhelming glaring evidence inspite of the unprecedented flood witnessed in 2012 across the nation.

Secondly, Mr Melaye also alleged that the Minister inflated the contract sum from 6 billion to 29 billion naira and paid contractors all the sums up front. Investigation did not only reveal that the total contract sum was not only N6,060,947,257.00, but that the Ministry indeed owed the contractors due to poor budgetary allocation as only a mobilization sum of N909,142,090.00 was paid contractors.

Again, Mr Melaye also ill-informed Nigerians that by the River Training/ Canalization as stated in the job title/description, the Ministry trained the contractors and still awarded the contracts to same contractors so trained by the Ministry. Unknown to Melaye, River Training is a technical term used to describe the process of channelling a river to take a particular flow course.

Fourthly, Mr Melaye also alleged that SETRACO built a mansion as bribe in the Minister’s parcel of land at Mabushi for the Minister having awarding a portion of the East- West road construction to SETRACO. Upon thorough and extensive investigation by GLOCCOLAC including a search in Abuja Environmental Geographical Information System (AEGIS), it was revealed that the property i.e. both Land and building does not belong to the Minister. It is the knowledge of Nigerians that any particular Ministry may decide to rent an accommodation for a Minister. This, from an extensive investigation is what the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has done. Such act cannot be defined as corruption in any way.

Again, the same Dino Melaye has also published some land titles, alleging that the undeveloped, empty land, for which our investigation reveals is located in the bush and remote suburb area of Abuja, belongs to the Minister. It is an open knowledge that every Nigerian citizen and indeed the Civil Servants reserve the right to apply and indeed pay for such land allocations if granted. Now, from our investigations, the Minister as a public servant has applied and acquired empty land following due process. Owning undeveloped land in the bush, undeveloped area of Abuja by the Minister via a constitutional legal means as he has done is therefore legitimate and does not transmit nor tantamount to corruption by any definition as provided by law.

The Global Centre For Conscious Living Against Corruption (GLOCCOLAC) therefore believe strongly that these allegations by Mr Dino Melaye is orchestrated. This is definitely not how to fight the corruption war. It is built in bad faith and therefore witch- hunting. This sort of baseless, unfounded allegation built on the premise of acquisition of kangaroo popularity by mutilating the integrity of persons who have distinguished themselves in selfless quality service delivery that has direct bearing with the lives and aspiration of citizens as patriots of the Nigerian nation must stop. We must state here that being sponsored to black-mail, mutilate and subject the image of innocent, law abiding citizens is by itself corruption epitomized.

In a telephone discussion, the minister said he was not ready to discuss issues concerning the masterminds of the falsehood but that he is heading to the court to seek redress.

We advise Civil Society Organizations to insist on proper verification and fact finding before feeding the public so that the well-deserved reputation of Civil Society Organization will not be eroded with baseless, unfounded accusations.

While we reaffirm our commitment to a genuine corruption combat, we warn corrupt officials in government to immediately desist forthwith as GLOCCOLAC will not hesitate to expose corrupt official and ensure that perpetrators of this heinous crime face the full wroth of the law. We enjoin all Nigerians to remain united as together we fight this monster of corruption which has ravaged our nation to a standstill.

Long live a corrupt-free united Nigerian nation.




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