Wednesday , 15 August 2018
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Tag Archives: Corruption

Reps reject Buhari’s executive order on corruption

The House of Representatives has rejected the new executive order on corruption recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Last week Buhari signed the executive aimed at restraining owners of assets under investigation access to them.

The president had said the order would help boost his administration’s fight against corruption.

However, at plenary on Wednesday, Nicholas Ossai from Delta state, moved a motion seeking to suspend the order.

Ossai said the executive order, among other things, contradicts the recovery of public property act which vests the federal high court with powers to direct; or prohibit any disposition of properties belonging to persona under investigation.

“The executive order number is similar to the dreaded decree number 2 of 1984 that could be used as an instrument to hunt, traumatize, harass and victimize perceived political opponents,” he said.

Bode Ayorinde from Ondo said the order is against the principles of democracy.

According to him, “we are in a democracy and there is a clear separation of powers, this should not be allowed.”

The house also resolved to invite Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation; and Kefas Magaji, chairman of Nigerian Law Reform Commission, to appear before the house and submit a list of all subsidiary legislation in Nigeria within two weeks

They also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee that will investigate all subsidiary legislation and executive orders in Nigeria.

The motion was sponsored by 27 other lawmakers. They argued that the order usurps the constitutional powers of the national assembly to make laws and also hijacks the powers of the judiciary.

Majority of the lawmakers voted against it when it was put to a voice vote.

In protest, lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) staged a walkout.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had kicked against the order, describing it as a descent to fascism.

The opposition party had threatened to file legal action against Buhari.

JUST IN: Court convicts ex-Plateau Gov Dariye of corruption

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday convicted a former Governor of Plateau State and serving senator, Joshua Dariye, on corruption charges.

Justice Adebukola Banjoko who listened to defence lawyer, Paul Erokor (SAN)’s, plea for mercy made on behalf of his client convicted the ex-governor on 15 out the 23 counts preferred against him.

The judge, in  a six-and-a-half-hour judgment convicted the ex-governor on charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation punishable under sections 315 and 309 of the Penal Code Act, respectively.

The judge threw out eight of the 23 charges on the grounds of either duplicity or lack of sufficient evidence.

The ‎Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), is opposing the defence lawyer’s plea for mercy and asked the court to impose the maximum sentence.

The judge is to pass her sentence after listening to Jacobs.

…this is a developing story

Corruption: Attorney General takes over prosecution of five National Theatre directors

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed June 13 for the arraignment of five directors of the National Theatre for allegedly receiving N500,000 each from a government contractor.

The accused include a former Acting General Manager, George Ntanta; the Director of Business Development and Events Management, Abiodun Abe; the Director of Engineering and Technology, Ndubuisi Nwogu; the Director of Planning, Research and Strategies, Doris Okafor and Femi Joel.

They were charged by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on a two-count charge of violating the Code of Conduct Act.

Aminu Alilu, a legal officer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, who announced appearance for the Attorney-General of the Federation, told the court that he had directives from the AGF to take over and continue with the prosecution of the case.

According to him, by the provisions of sections 174 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the AGF reserves the right to take over, continue or discontinue any criminal charge.

He, therefore, urged the court to so hold.

In his ruling, Justice, Muslim Hassan, upheld the submissions of Mr Alilu and held that by the provisions of the constitution, the AGF possessed the power to take over criminal proceedings and “is not legally bound to explain the reasons for the take over”.

Reiterating the provisions of sections 174 of the constitution, Mr Hassan held that the AGF’s power of take-over can be exercised by him personally or by any of his officers.

The court consequently held: “Mr A. K Alilu is an officer of the A-G and he can validly take over the case”.

The court, however, adjourned the case until June 13 for the arraignment of the accused.

The prosecutor, Cletus Ukpong, had earlier brought the accused to court on April 23.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that their arraignment was, however, stalled following the absence of one of the accused, who suddenly took ill in court and was rushed to the hospital.

The case was then adjourned till May 14.

According to the charge, the accused were said to have committed the offence on January 16, 2017.

The prosecution alleged that while being public officers, they accepted the sum of N500,000 each from a commercial firm called, Market Execution Solutions Ltd, which had a contract with the Federal Government.

They allegedly accepted the money on account of transactions entered into on behalf of the Federal Government with the firm in the discharge of their duties.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 10 (1) of the Code of Conduct Act and the provisions of Sections 1 (2) and 10 (1) (a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004.

‘You are a beneficiary of corruption’ — PDP hits Osinbajo

The Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is a beneficiary of corruption.

Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman of the party, said this in response to the numerous allegations the nation’s number two citizen has levelled against the opposition party.

At the APC ward congress in Eti-Osa locla government area of Lagos on Saturday, Osinbajo said the current administration would not steal money like the previous one.

But Ologbondiyan said Nigerians, particularly the younger generation, were disappointed in Osinbajo for “allowing himself to be used to divert public attention from the impunity and corruption that has saturated the All Progressives Congress-led federal government”.

“We note that Vice-President Osinbajo has refused to heed wise counsel and accord respect to his office by desisting from such unguarded comments only because he has been sucked in and entangled in the propaganda, deception, impunity and sleaze that not only brought the administration to power, but have become its trademark in the last three years,” he said in a statement.

“We specifically invite Nigerians to note that all the assertions by the vice-president, especially on the performance of the Buhari administration as well as his allegations and bandying of figures against the opposition, have remained unsubstantiated.

“Moreover, Nigerians have noted that Prof. Osinbajo, in his ‘sanctimony,’ has been silent on the exposed corruption under the Buhari administration, including the leaked memo detailing N9tn corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC, exposed sleaze in oil subsidy deals, diversion of Internally Displaced Persons’ intervention funds.

“These include the probe of a misappropriated N18bn in the National Emergency Management Agency under his direct supervision as well as other looting in government agencies such as the National Health Insurance Scheme.

“The Vice-President is also ominously silent about the prevailing high-handedness and human rights violations and the aloofness of government resulting in daily bloodletting in various parts of our country.”

Ologbondiyan urged Osinbajo to take heed, retreat to the inner room, and conduct a soul searching.

He said the Vice-President should also note that propaganda and false accusations were not only abhorred by the Holy Books, but would also not deliver the APC and “its incompetent administration from the resolve of Nigerians to kick them out, come 2019.”

Responding, the Presidency on Sunday said the PDP was embarking on a shameless attempt to perfect denial and defection over the large-scale corruption that characterised the past administration in the country.

How 55 politicians, officials stole N1.35bn in 7 years – Report

A new report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed how “55 politicians, high-level public officials and leaders allegedly stole N1.354tr between 2006 and 2013 from the nation’s treasury.”

According to the report, “The amount of money embezzled, misappropriated or stolen by public officials and leaders in the private between 2013 and 2017 has galloped beyond the contemplation of average Nigerians.

“Evidence abound that Judges, judicial officers, lawyers and military officers are participants in the frenzy of despoliation of national wealth.”

The 112 page report launched on Wednesday Lagos is titled: “Letting the Big Fish Swim” How Those Accused of High-Level Corruption are Getting away with their Crimes and Profiting from Nigeria’s Legacy of Impunity. The report presented to the media by Dr. Esa Onoja, Senior Lecturer of Law, Litigation and Professional ethics at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus discloses that “While the main anti-corruption agencies secured more than 1500 non-high profile convictions between 2000-2017, they could only muster 10 high profile convictions between the periods.”

According to the report, “In the investigation, prosecution and trial of high profile corruption cases in Nigeria, justice is imprisoned by snares contrived by actors in the legal community in aid of looters.”

The report listed “high profile cases of corruption prosecuted by anti-corruption agencies between 2000 and 2017 as numbering 177 out of which 167 are pending. Total convictions are just 10. Out of the 10, only 3 convictions were obtained after full trial while 7 convictions were based on plea bargaining. Yet 1 of the 3 convictions based on Full trial was discharged by the Supreme Court while 3 of the 7 convicted were granted Presidential pardon.”

The report launch chaired by Oladayo Olaide, Deputy Director Macarthur Foundation had in attendance human rights lawyer Femi Falana SAN; Barrister Babatunde Ogala; Mrs Juliet Ibekaku- Special Assistant to the President on anti-corruption and Coordinator of the Open Partnership Government; Chinedu Nwagu, Trust Africa; Mr Joy Esezebor, Ford Foundation; David Ukagwu Head, DFID South-West Regional Coordinator; Wahab Shittu; former NBA Chairman, Lagos Mr Martin Ogunleye; Miss Jennifer Ogbechi representing Mrs. Mariam Uwais; Mr Collins Okeke, representing Dr.Olisa Agbakoba; the media, civil society groups and representatives of anticorruption agencies.

All the participants expressed commitment to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.


The report read in part: “Most corruption cases against high profile defendants witness delays tactics and tricks by defendants to truncate fair trial. The cases depict the stark reality of a captive justice system at the mercy of high profile offenders and their platoon of defence counsel. The negligible number of conviction of high profile defendants explains the probable calculus of offenders that the risk of apprehension and conviction is low.”

“Mr James Ngilari, ex-Governor of Adamawa State was convicted through the effort of the Attorney General of Adamawa State. Salisu Buhari was convicted of forgery under a plea arrangement in 1999. Salisu Buhari’s sentence was a slap on the wrist. President Olusegun Obasanjo later granted him a pardon. Tafa Balogun (former Inspector General of Police), Mrs Celicia Ibru (former CEO of Oceanic Bank), Lucky Igbinedion (former Governor) and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (former Governor of Bayelsa State) all entered plea agreements with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

“Alhaji Shettima Bulama (former CEO of Bank of the North) was convicted after trial. The sentences in each of these cases did not reflect the gravity of the offences. There is a sense that all the offenders, including Tafa Balogun and Celilia Ibru, who publicly returned large amounts of money, were able to retain substantial proceeds of crime. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Alhaji Shettima Bulama were granted Presidential pardon by President Goodluck Jonathan. The outcome of conviction of the high profile offenders seems to be a clear signal that crime pays when you are high profile.”

“The record of proceedings from courts and law reports paint a vivid and irrefutable picture of the causes of truncation of prosecution of high profile in Nigeria. The trajectory of cases through investigation to trial and appeals qualitatively reveals strong evidence of a nexus between weak institutional capacity on the one hand and attitudes of actors in the criminal justice sector that hamstring orderly and efficient collation and presentation of evidence in court, which militates against impartial determination of corruption cases.”

“The sense of simmering undercurrent of commodification of justice and commercialized legal contortions and reasoning pervades investigation, prosecution and trial of high profile corruption cases in Nigeria. Justice stands in the dock this game of musical chairs presided by technical justice while high profile offenders gleefully sit in comfort with their loot, fortified by the efficacy of a vast array of subterfuge and jiggery-pokery of their lawyers, with seeming active and passive connivance of actors in the legal community.”

Falana said, “Nigerians should stop rubishing all judges and lawyers. No doubt there are a few corrupt judges and lawyers. Just a few. But majority of members of the legal profession are not corrupt. Our duty as concerned citizens is to identify and isolate the bad judges and lawyers.”

According to him, “I can say without any fear of contradiction that the judiciary has developed an inbuilt mechanism to remove bad judges. Between 1999 and 2017 not less than 100 judges have been sanctioned. No other institution in Nigeria in Nigeria can boast of that record.  SERAP deserves commendation for elevating the debate about corruption beyond the adoption of Fela Anikulapo-kuti’s record entitled “Authority Stealing”. Unlike the two parties singing “you be thief, I no be thief” SERAP has produced a 112-page occasional publication.”

Falana’s remarks read in part: “With the abolition of stay of proceedings politically exposed persons and their lawyers are no longer permitted to frustrate their prosecution.  In commending SERAP for producing this report let me say that the areas covered are a tip of the iceberg.  Not a single reference was made to the most corrupt institutions in the country.”

“One of them is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which is currently headed by President Mohammadu Buhari. A government’s agency, the National extractive industries transparency initiative has accused the NNPC of illegally withholding $16.8 billion from the federation account.”

“Since the NNPC cannot justify the fraudulent importation of fuel it says that it is not a public institution when asked to produce the certified true copies of importation documents. But i assure you the documents will be produced either now or in future. A government that says it is fighting corruption cannot be allowed to engage in reckless opacity.”

The report also states: “The immunity clause has metamorphosed into a potent vehicle of corruption and ignoble conduct. The immunity clause effectively foster corruption and has become a cloak of immunity to commit heinous crimes in our society. For indeed there seems to be some sacred cows amongst the governors who hide behind the cloak of immunity to commit atrocities.”

“Suspicious decisions/rulings by courts in favour of high profile defendants in corruption cases abound. Successful prosecution of high profile cases unduly suffer because of the tendency of courts to favour legalism and technical construction of criminal and procedural legislations instead of real justice. High profile corruption defendants have conveniently latched on to claims of alleged breach of fundamental right to prevent investigation, prosecution and orderly conduct of cases by courts. Instances of sly and twisted claims of breach of fundamental rights by high profile defendants against anti-corruption agencies abound and are readily available from law reports.”

“The problem with administration of criminal justice Nigeria is not the absence of laws or institutions, but the will of actors within and outside criminal justice institutions to put aside their personal or group interests and apply the law. That is the main reason for the low level of conviction of high profile corruption defendants in Nigeria. However, no institution is perfect. Periodic reform is beneficial because it ensures that laws and institutions keep up with the times.”

“The National Assembly should amend provisions in anti-corruption legislations, criminal justice legislations, and the Evidence Act that enables defendants to prolong trials or that are disadvantageous to efficient presentation of cases in court. The Executive should avoid interference with the work of anti-corruption agencies. Money appropriated in budgets should be released as and when due.”

“Anti-corruption agencies should weed out compromised officials. These agencies should also demonstrate that they are truly independent. Training and re-training of investigators and prosecutors should be a priority. There should be less dependence on personnel from other agencies. The Nigerian Bar Association should establish a monitoring mechanism to check abuse of court process by legal practitioners. The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee should be empowered to discipline even the sacred cows.”

Fighting corruption dangerous, Okonjo-Iweala declares in new book

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has declared that fighting corruption is ‘dangerous’.

She made this known in a book titled; ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines.’

The former World Bank MD also revealed on her  Twitter handle that writing the book in the first place was “risky”.

The book, according to her, provides .insight into what it means to deal with corruption from the frontlines, and will give young people the hope and courage to fight.

The publishers, MIT press, describing the book, wrote:

Former Managing Director of the World Bank, Okonjo-Iweala also served as Nigeria’s first female Minister of Finance and Foreign Minister, and her tenure taught her a lot about what corruption can do, but also how people can fight it. Determined to root out the fraudulent claims and other schemes that drain the country of resources and ultimately deprive the poor of crucial services, Okonjo- Iweala found herself and her family targeted for reprisals designed to force her to drop her anti-corruption campaign. She refused to stop or to resign, even as her enemies kidnapped her mother. Admitting that it is risky to tell her story, Okonjo-Iweala, currently senior advisor at Lazard and board chair of Gavi, notes that it is also dangerous not to tell it.

Buhari recount jail experience , after jailing many for ‘corruption’

President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted how he was sent to jail during the military regime.

Buhari was in 1985 detained for over two years by then military president Ibrahim Babangida.

Speaking on Wednesday during his visit to Kano, Buhari harped on how he ended up in jail after arresting and jailing others for corruption-related offences.

“When I was the military head of state, I arrested many people and jailed them for alleged corruption. In the end, I also ended in jail,” he said.

Buhari also urged Nigerians to understand the disparities between military and democratic dispensations.

He called for patience with the current economic woes in the country, assuring that “there will be light at the end of the tunnel”.

He said: “It is not easy for us to surmount all the obstacles against us; but knowing that the road to a promised land appeared rough, but all I want from Nigerians is to be patient.”

Buhari also recalled how he spent years in court challenging election results.

The president won the 2015 presidential election on the fourth attempt, having contested in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections.

“As a politician, I really tasted the pains of seeking elective office,” he said.

“Since I joined politics in 2003, I contested for president three times but I could not get it right until the fourth attempt in 2015. I was in court for 30 months, challenging the 2007 election and in 2011, I also spent 16 months in court.”

No Govt. money in ex-FCT Minister’s account – Witness

A prosecution witness, Mr Ishaya Dauda told an FCT High Court Gudu that in the course of investigations, no government money was traced to the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed’s account.

Dauda, a Senior Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday said this during cross examination by the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche.

Mohammed is being prosecuted by the commission on a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets and graft to the tune of N864 million.

The witness admitted that the former minister was arraigned based on an intelligent report by the commission and not on a petition.

He said though the work of the commission was based on petition and intelligence report, the petition against the minister came first, adding that investigation had not been concluded in respect of the petition.

Upon further questioning on the source of the intelligence report, the witness said he would not disclose the source.

Earlier, while the witness was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Prince Ben Ikani said that the defendant received a property at Asokoro as a bribe by Aso Savings and Loans.

Dauda alleged that the former minister on the request of Aso Savings, had relocated Abuja Urban Mass Transit from their plot at Mpape area along Kubwa express.

The witness gave evidence that Aso Savings and Loans Ltd had stood as guarantor to Abuja Urban Mass Transit when they obtained a loan of N1.8 billion from the former Oceanic bank for the acquisition of new buses.

He said Abuja Urban Mass Transit had defaulted in repayment of the loan which led to Aso Savings being made to clear the debt.

“For Aso Savings to be able to recover their money from Abuja Mass Transit, they requested from the then FCT minister to relocate Abuja Urban Mass Transit to another place.

“This was to enable Aso Savings and Loans Ltd take over the land. They now bought the Asokoro property for the defendant in appreciation,’’ the witness said.

He said that to confirm that, they had invited the former Managing Director of Aso Savings, Mr Hassan Usman and the former Executive Director, Marketing, Mr Maimanu Aliyu to make statements.

He said they also invited the seller of the said Asokoro property, Ifeanyi Ihejirike and Mrs Ogechi Nwaduke who also gave statements in their office.

Dauda said that when the defendant was questioned about the property, he initially refused to make statements.

Other properties allegedly belonged to the former minister which he did not declare in the Asset Declaration Form given by the EFCC include a property at the Three Arms Zone, Abuja, and a plot of land in Kaduna.

So far, the prosecution tendered the statements made by the defendant to the EFCC in court which was admitted and marked as exhibit A.

The other exhibit tendered, marked and admitted as exhibit B was the EFCC Asset Declaration Form.

Justice Abubakar Talba adjourned hearing in continuation of the trial to Feb.12, 2018.

We borrow money to eat, soldier writes Buhari

A soldier who refused to disclose his identity has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to complain about the alleged corruption in the army.

The officer on the frontline of the war against insurgency wrote the letter in reaction to the army’s dismissal of the complaints of Abdulrauf Aliyu, a private of the Nigerian army.

Aliyu had complained that he was abandoned after being shot by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

But Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, denied the allegation, saying Aliyu was declared a deserter for leaving the hospital he was receiving treatment without being cleared by the authorities.

Usman said as a deserter, Aliyu should be apprehended and handed over to the nearest military unit or police station,  if seen.

“This is a clear case of a deserter from the Nigerian army trying to run a campaign of calumny against the Nigerian army on Social Media,” Usman had said.

But the soldier who wrote the letter spoke in defence of Aliyu and also drew attention to the plight of his colleagues.

A picture of the rice served to soldiers. Not a single meat in it

He said knowing what they signed for, soldiers “expect to die in the hands of the enemy, not in the hands of the Nigerian Army”.

The letter in full:

Having read the online correspondence between Dr. Idris Ahmed of CUPS and our Army spokesman, Brigadier General S.K. Usman, I have decided to take a major risk and write to your Excellency directly over this issue.

Sir, I am a course-mate of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu, who Oga S.K. claimed that he has gone AWOL. We trained at the same company, Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State. We are presently posted to Operation LAFIYA DOLE. On behalf of all the colleagues of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu, I categorically refute the allegation that Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu deserted the Army. The Sections 59 – 63 of the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as quoted by Oga S.K., has always been mentioned by our superiors, to protect themselves and antagonise us, whenever they have done mischief.

Your Excellency, the case of Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu is actually not an isolated one. There are many such cases of soldiers who got wounded on the battlefront. It is true, some are well looked after, as mentioned by Oga S.K. Usman in his press release. Unfortunately, due to corruption in the system, some unfortunate soldiers, mostly from less privileged backgrounds, are left to fend for themselves. Like myself, Pvt. Abdulrauf Aliyu comes from a humble family. He sustained life-threatening injuries in the abdomen during a routine operation. The initial first aid treatment and medical care that he received was very inadequate. With full Army permission, Pvt Abdulrauf Aliyu and his family paid for his transfer to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Unfortunately, the care he received in Maiduguri Teaching Hospital too was inadequate. Eventually, his family had to pay for his transfer to a specialist facility in Sokoto.

Your Excellency, corruption in the Army is REAL, and it is killing us. Every man and woman who decided to join the Army knows the risks. While we expect to die in the hands of the enemy, we don’t expect to die in the hands of the Nigerian Army, due to corruption and criminal negligence.

Just the other week, about 14 (I am not sure of the exact numbers) of our colleagues died in the hands of BokoHaram, who attacked the Army camp. The circumstances surrounding their unnecessary death warrants a full investigation by his Excellency. Sir, you will be shocked of the outcome. The bodies of the slain heroes are still lying here in Damaturu, Yobe State. The story of this incidence has hardly been officially published by the Army or Nigerian media. Attached is the picture of the commander of the camp. He too died in the attack.

Your Excellency, this is the third month in a row that we have been denied of our operations allowance. We have to rely ONLY on our meagre salary for everything. From battalion commanders, to Company and Sectors leaders, we are all in debt, because our salaries are not enough to sustain us at the battlefront while feeding our families back at home. It is a big shame that we have joined the Army to defend the civilians, yet we have to go to the civilians in town to borrow money to fend for ourselves at the battlefront.

Take for instance the food that we are fed. Most of the times it is not fit for human consumption. I attach for your perusal, your Excellency, the lunch that was fed to us this afternoon (3/11/2017). As you can clearly see, there is not a single piece of meat or fish in it. The taste of the food is so bad that we have to add surplus salt to be able to eat it. This is also dangerous for our health. A plate of our food per soldier is probably about two hundred Naira (N200).

It is said that the Federal Government spends about fourteen thousand Naira (N14,000) on each prisoner in Nigeria. Here, at the battlefront in Operation LAFIYA DOLE, the Army spends about six hundred Naira (N600) per day per soldier on feeding us, while in reality billions of Naira is appropriated per year for this purpose. Your Excellency, we are treated like animals. Most of us are afraid to talk because of the dire consequence.

As the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, your Excellency, kindly investigate. There is corruption in the Army. Brave soldiers are needlessly dying.

Osinbajo blames church for condoning corruption

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Kingdom Summit 2017 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), blamed the churches for not speaking against corruption.

Osinbajo, who was at the Kings Court Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday, remarked that corruption in the country still existed because the church had failed to speak against.

They failed to speak against graft simply because those involved in graft had relationships with them.

Osinbajo also urged Christians against putting tribe above other things.

He said that at creation, there was no difference in the nature of man and everyone related in an atmosphere devoid of tribe or other differences.

“The canal nature of man is that he places his tribe above others but the only basis for the power and unity of the church is that there is no Jew or Gentile.’’

He also advised the faithful to avoid divisive issues as much as they did to foolish disputes.

Osinbajo added that it was wrong to seek vengeance as the gospel did not give Christians the power to habour hatred.

According to him, when the disciple, Stephen, was killed, if the Apostles had retaliated, there would not have been the gospel.

“The gospel of the Lord says you must overcome evil with good.’’

He said God had a purpose for the Nigeria with the kind of persons in authority.

But he warned that the strategic position God had placed the leaders would be meaningless if they failed to live by the gospel.

“I am so pleased and happy and I believe that the Almighty God has a plan for our nation by putting us in strategic positions in politics, business and everywhere.

“But, the strategic positions He has placed us will have no effect unless we are prepared to live by the gospel.

“There is no wisdom of man that can change men or change nations; it is the power and wisdom of God that can,’’ he stated.

The vice president, who titled his remark “Neither Jew, nor Gentile’’ noted that the gospel of the Lord was transformational, meant to turn the market place around by uniting God’s people.

According to him, the only way to transform the nation is to obey the gospel and to do so that citizens must free themselves from the canal and simply return to the gospel in their practices.

Osinbajo noted that sometimes people thought that God did not achieve His purpose in man because God’s gospel contradicted the purpose of man.

He said that many times, Christians interpreted the gospel to suit their purposes, which explained why it was easy for them to pray against their enemies that prayed for them.

“This carnal nature cannot save us; we are completely different from God because the gospel is not a canal word,’’ he stated.

The vice president pointed out that the Bible was not just a book but the wisdom of God, which could not be trampled upon.

He noted that the power of the church lay in its unity.

He traced the history of creation where God made man in His own image, and that man fell apart because of sin, but salvation still came when Christ was born.

Osinbajo prayed for the country and the people and asked God to grant Nigerians faithfulness to Him and give everyone the grace to avoid every form of disunity.