The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. John Onaiyekan has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to uphold the integrity of the country by ensuring that all those found guilty of looting the nation’s treasury are made to face the wrath of the law.
Archbishop Onaiyekan, who expressed concern that the country is now a laughing stock in the world as a result of the high level of corruption, made the call during an exclusive interview with the Catholic News Service of Nigeria (CNSNg) in Abuja, on Tuesday, April 24, 2012.
The Archbishop berated the quality of governance in the country noting that current revelations at the on-going probes in the country about how money has been stolen from the nation’s treasury with impunity, is an indictment of the country’s integrity.
His words: “Let me say something that may surprise the people; for me, the major problem facing Nigeria now is not Boko Haram or insecurity. Boko Haram and insecurity are a result of something very serious namely: quality of governance, corruption at the highest level.”
The Archbishop continued: “Until this is resolved, the other one will be there pending, which is why when the National Assembly started probing and they scratched here and hit stench and scratch another place and they hit corruption, I hope they will not continue to cover up; names have been mentioned, figures quoted and Nigerians are waiting.”
Commenting on the recent sentence of the former governor of Delta State to 13 years imprisonment by a London Court for money laundering, the Archbishop said: “The court in England would not have said the money was stolen from Nigeria if it was not stolen. The judiciary in Nigeria has not seen this theft yet. We will advise them to please request the judges in England to supply them the judgment, for the information they so badly need.”
“Because, if somebody goes to jail for thirteen years for laundering stolen money, how many years will he go for stealing the money in the first place? It is a very serious case, the whole world is laughing at us.” The Archbishop added.
The Catholic Metropolitan of Abuja called on President Goodluck Jonathan to rise up to the occasion and save the integrity of the nation by ensuring that those found guilty of stealing from the nation’s treasury are brought to justice. “I hope our President will realize that posterity is looking at him,” he added.
He continued: “For as long as these things are only in rumours, we continued to grumble. Now, it is no more rumours. Jonathan must face it, names are mentioned, figures are named, the Pandora box is opened. If there are some powerful people involved who do not want him to act, he should plead with them not to kill him. Jonathan must act. I like him, he is my friend, a very nice man, but to be a president, you need to be more than just a nice man. At the end of the day, if anything happens, it will be ‘Nigeria collapsed under Jonathan’. I am sure he does not want to have that image like Pontius Pilate. Jesus was condemned under Pilate.”
Archbishop Onaiyekan who is the Chancellor of the Veritas University, Abuja (VUNA) disclosed that work is going on steadily at the permanent site of the institution to ensure academic work and other activities of the university move from the Obehie Campus, Abia State; to the Abuja permanent site, as soon as possible.
While noting that financial constraints are slowing down the pace of work at the Abuja permanent site of the institution, Archbishop assured that all hands are on deck to ensure academic exercise starts at the campus soon adding that: “The project of the Catholic university is a typical example of a big project undertaken with strong conviction and great faith in God.”