FG’s Anti-Insurgency Strategy Not Working – Egoh | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


FG’s Anti-Insurgency Strategy Not Working – Egoh

Posted: Sep 4, 2015 at 1:53 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hon. Oghene Egoh,  Member representing Amuwo Odofin Federal Constituency of Lagos State is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) In this interview with correspondents in the House of Representatives, he scored the government of President Muhammadu Buhari low in the fight against Boko Haram. He also spoke on other burning issues. ROTIMI AKINWUMI brings the excerpts.

You will agree that insecurity is a big problem and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has taken steps to ensure that the Boko Haram insurgency especially in the north east is tackled. Do you think his government is moving fast enough in this direction?



Let me say first of all that the war against insurgency is war that every Nigerian want us to win, so on that,  we are on the same page with the President. Whatever party you belong to, I’m of the PDP,  so whatever party you belong to it does not matter because without security we cannot have peace, we cannot have investment, people cannot move freely and Nigerians cannot be happy, so we want to support the President to ensure the success of that war. Let me say straight away that the President is a general, a man all of us respects, the man who should know about war more than we who are politicians but I want to say that his strategies have not quite worked as expected. Before President Jonathan left office, you will see that in the last month of his leaving office, Boko Haram had been pursued all over the country, a lot of them were killed and some ran from the country, we thought that was goodbye to insurgency but when this president came I would have expected him to get Jonathan’s people to handover to him militarily very well, but it looks like there is a lot of activity and today Boko Haram have come back stronger than before.  Two days ago I was reading in the papers that they had to go and bombed Sambisa village again because they have come back and everyday killing is going on. I can only wish the President well, we want to appeal to the President to put more effort. I was watching television yesterday and they said that, a lake Chad group has 8, 000 troops, I’m not a military man we can deploy up to 50, 000 soilders into this war and mop them up, clear them from this country, by the time you begin to put a few people, well, it’s not going to be easy to tackle this insurgency. We pray for the President to win but I think his tactics are not working well enough, he needs to change tactics so that the war can be won very quickly.

One of the cardinal programmes of Mr. President is  the fight against corruption.  Will you say that his approach is right considering the fact that he is said to be concentrating on the Jonathan administration?

This is one issue where everyone is on the same page, I’m not sure there is a single PDP member who will not wish the President well in this war against corruption because when there is corruption we don’t have good roads, if roads are bad, it’s because of corruption. If hospitals are not working it’s because of corruption, if schools are not working well it’s because of corruption. Majority of the problem we have in this country are caused by corruption, because the country has enough funds for development. We want to support the President on the fight against corruption, we are also happy that the president took corruption as one of his major plans, I think after corruption, security comes next. Corruption is so bad, if there is corruption you cannot even win the war that we are fighting right now. Let me say the President’s approach is not satisfactory to everybody while we wish him to succeed,  a situation where you want to limit and restrict your anti corruption war to a particular group of people means that you want to punish the people because they don’t belong to the same party and he want to oppress them. I want to appeal to the president to let his corruption fight be broad minded. Look, you say PDP are corrupt therefore you want to start the anti corruption fight with them, don’t forget  four  months before the election over five governors of PDP some have served 8 years crossed over to APC, Today’s APC is made up of almost half of today’s PDP members. Are you saying when you cross over to APC you are no more corrupt?  Then what we need to do is that let everybody in PDP decamp to APC so that there is no need to fight corruption again. The President is a statesman and highly respected,  I want to appeal to him to quickly to extend the anti corruption fight to everybody, every nook and cranny of the country, corruption is everywhere. It’s in the universities, it’s in the ministries, it is in the oil industry, it’s in the police force, everywhere there is corruption and this corruption grown like that because no one has tackled it frontally. Now that the President wants to tackle it, let him be bold to make the anti corruption fight touch everybody.

But do you think it is targeted at PDP members?

It won’t be good for him to start with PDP, if I were him I will start from my own house, I’ll start from APC so that people will know that I’m  genuine. Start from APC join PDP then joins the general people, then they will know that it’s a good one. Let me also say that the agencies we are using to fight corruption today are very weak. To me a body like EFCC has failed because what I am seeing now is that it’s only when a president comes and say I want to fight corruption, then EFCC will sit down, EFCC is supposed to be a body that will fight corruption all year round, you don’t need a president to come and insist that corruption is one of my cardinal point before EFCC will begin to fight corruption. EFCC and ICPC are supposed to be investigating, do espionage work on various ministries, parastatals or schools and wherever there is corruption and continue to prosecute people, if EFCC is prosecuting people all year round we will not waste time on it, in fact people from some country they laugh when they say oh! A president is trying to fight corruption and the news is all over the place. Corruption is supposed to be fought on daily basis. I want the President to strengthen the EFCC and also made themselves accountable. However, if the EFCC is not giving account of what they are doing or doing it properly, the House should call it to order and relieve whoever is there, that is a prerogative the President should have. The public also needs to help EFCC,  they should be writing petitions, anybody who is corrupt Nigerians are aware, there must be somebody who knows where a corrupt person is and he or she is. We also don’t have enough courts to prosecute corruption, you have an ordinary case and you take it to court in April they will adjourn to September before that September they will say they are on recess, simple cases can take years.  .

The President has setup a committee made up of body of intellectuals, academics and jurists to select judges that will look at corrupt cases and also the call for special courts, what is your take on all these?

I think we have enough courts and we have enough laws in this country and there are people to appoint the judges, who will recommend judges to the president, so I don’t see why they had to setup another committee to work on that and I think that the president has enough power to ensure that we have enough judges to try corruption.

Do you believe there is a need to overhaul the EFCC?

On the issue of EFCC, you can see it. If a president does not come out  to say ‘oh let’s fight corruption, you don’t see anything happening’. The news which is being made right now about president Buhari fighting corruption, EFCC is supposed to be making that noise, if EFCC has been doing its work regularly we will not have many anti corruption cases pending. EFCC is supposed to be on daily basis prosecuting people, on daily basis investigation cases of corruption. Please I  want to appeal to the EFCC after the president’s war on corruption, let their job continue, anti corruption job is supposed to be a continuous one. In Britain and in US, even in some other developing countries you find out that this war against corruption is a daily thing, when people are found corrupt, they are prosecuted and things are handled immediately, but for you to pile up corruption cases for 16 years and again one day you say you want to try all of them sometimes memory will be blurred, documents destroyed and that is why EFCC needs to do its job on regular basis, when they do, let it be published, let us know that they are really working to ensure that corruption is removed from our system.

There is this burning issue that you law makers earn jumbo pay, how true is that?

That issue has been a contentious issue and my feeling is that let the House be very transparent, the House and the Senate.   I’m happy that a national newspaper recently published everything, that is what is due to members of the House, I sympathise with the common man, prices of things are high and when you look at the monies coming to Reps and the Senate, the tendency is to look at it as very big but don’t forget that the House of Reps and the Senators, most of them don’t live in Abuja and came from outside Abuja. For a House of Rep member to get a simple small wing of duplex to live in Abuja I guess you know how much it costs, even outskirts of Abuja where roads are not tarred, like Durumni 1 or 2, you know what it cost. In those areas, a 3 bedroom block of flats would not be gotten for less than N3 million.  If the legislative quarters were not sold, then members can quietly enter their houses and do some renovation, with the houses sold, members are forced to acquire houses and accommodation at an expensive price, it’s not the fault of members. Those who say the pay is high should find out, members got loan to buy car, some of those monies are loans members are paying back, but many see it as jumbo pay. Personally I will be happy if due process is observed and they say all across board everybody salaries should reduced. At least, do not forget that this House on its own, this 8th assembly has reduced it’s salaries by 30 per cent, in other words what our colleagues got while they were here, 7th Assembly, 5th Assembly got, what we are getting is 30 per cent less than what they got. A lot of sacrifices have been made and we can still make further sacrifice at least let the people who sent us here be happy. It is the tax payers that brought us here it will not be good that they feel we are earning too much money.