By Haruna Salami
The Independent Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, says contrary to public perception the agency investigates the military.
Chairman of ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this at an interactive session with the Media on activities of ICPC in Abuja.
“We are actually investigating the Military. When we get petitions on some issues, they respond with documents and we check, cross-check and double check. That is the situation. The recent report was something that has to do with people’s allowances not paid. They provided all the documents and we validated them. It is not true that there are some sacred people that we cannot probe”, Owasanoye said.
On constituency and executive project tracking initiative, CEPTi, Owasanoye said the anti-graft agency has not slowed down, contrary to views in the public domain.
He said one of the reports details what ICPC did on CEPTi this year, “the projects that we got the contractors to go back to sight and the value.
“While people think we are going soft, the legislators think we are unnecessarily too hard on them. So, we are between the devil and the deep blue sea.
According to the ICPC Chairman, there are thousands of constituency projects going on in the country and they cannot pursue all of them with a staff strength that is less than 1000.
“We have video of my staff going to the remotest parts of the country. We have programme target that we give every investigator, you must do visuals/shots and it will geo locate where you are in case you want to tell me story. We are using an App working together with the World Bank that builds capacity around it.”
He said the 16 states they went this year were not the ones they visited last year. “Some may think we are targeting some people. This year because of Covid-19, we selected projects of N100 million and above. This has more intended consequence of targeting more senators to the extent the senators are saying what have we done to you. I have to explain to them that they have higher projects than Reps. Last year it was the Reps that were complaining,” he said.
On Nigerians’ cynism about government, Owasanoye said he was a civil society activist who has many publications to his credit before joining government, but expressed joy that what he has done in the few years in government surpasses his numerous activism outside government, adding that “the media must come into government too”.
Reacting to media questions, Garba Abari, Director General, National Orientation Agency, NOA said the NOA is not visible as it used to be in its early days as Mass Mobilisation for Social and Economic Recovery, MAMSER because it was then in the Presidency under the Chief of Staff, COS.
Another factor, according to Abari is “systemic structural problem, with the reality of a changing environment which now put NOA on social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram”, etc. unlike in the days when it was only on NTA.