The Lawmaker who represents Kogi West Senatorial District Talks Frank About Corruption In Nigeria On His Visit To London.
By Adenike Lucas
A senator who blew the whistle which led to the arrest and investigation of a former Petroleum Minister of Nigeria, Diezani Alison-Madueke in London says “in an unjust society silence is a crime.”
Dino Melaye, a member of the 8th Senate in the most populous country in Africa, is well known for his stance against corruption.
Senator Melaye is famous for standing against injustice and once, he said: “I’d rather say the truth and die.”
While he was a member of the House of Representative, he was one of a few lawmakers to discuss the level of corruption perpetuated by members of the past administration.
Mr Melaye who pioneered the movement Occupy Nigeria movement, remains one of the most vocal legislators in Nigeria. He has spoken up about various issues including the removal of petrol subsidy and the corruption within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This includes raising the alarm on Nigeria’s oil minister, Ms Alison-Madueke. The 56-year-old, who served from 2010 – 2015, and is undergoing investigation by the UK National Crime Agency since October 2015.
Ms Alison-Madueke is said to have benefitted from government contracts she awarded to two Nigerian oil men, Kolawole Aluko and Olajide Omokore.
According to the Financial Times, last month, prosecutors in the US moved to seize $144m in assets including a 200-foot yacht and a Manhattan condominium one block from Central Park, from Aluko, a close associate of Ms Alison-Madueke, the then president of OPEC.
The business men reportedly bought furnitures worth $100 million for the former minister, known to be a very close ally of the previous President, Goodluck Jonathan.
Senator Melaye argued that the problem was down to a “loss in morals.” He noted that: “when I was growing up there were no fences and everyone leaved in harmony.” But it’s no longer the same, “now people build house with tall fences. The institution is so deteriorated, people now have electric fences all attributed to the decay in value system.”
“We need to also refocus leadership and governance in Nigeria. My interest is to develop the younger generation, build a new Nigeria that would take care of the autocratic anomalies of the past. Retire forcefully the old people that are recycling themselves in government and also give hope in the new Nigeria by making sure that the youth get themselves indoctrinated and imbibed in positive rudiments that would bring about nationalism and civic education, moral philosophy and patriosm. So, whatever I do in terms of moving motions and bills is towards building a new society
“You can’t have a sound economy in a divided environment. You can’t have security in a disunited society. He advised that much should be done “the same vigour that this government is preaching about the fight against corruption should also be channelled in the same proportion towards uniting this country together.
Speaking to DENISAURUS News, the popular Senator said: “We don’t have any other country to call our own but Nigeria so we must do everything to bring back our long lost reputation. “
Senator Melaye’s comment comes days after Governors from five states in Nigeria came to visit President Muhammadu Buhari who has been in London since May.
The corruption bursting senator has equipped himself with the necessary tool to fight the malaise facing his country by obtaining several degrees and qualifications from universities including the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University.
He has not found it easy exposing crime. He has lost friends and been verbally abused but in the end, he feels vindicated.
Early this year, the Kogi state indigene informed the public that the Secretary to Government of Federation, Babachir David Lawal dubiously awarded contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE to his own business.
At the time, Senator Melaye raised the alarm; he was vilified by the local press. Although, the issue he raised was later confirmed to be true and Mr Lawal remains in suspension.