N23 billion pension fraud: What a country!

by Our Reporter

SIR: Permit me to lend my voice to the public outcry against the wishy-washy judgment meted on Mr John Yakubu Yusufu, one of the police pension scam jobbers who confessed to stealing our pensioners money. The big question now is this: is it enough for the self confessed thief to say yes I stole as much as N23 billion and be asked to part with a miserable N750, 000.00 as fine and be made to go home and steal no more?

This feeling of impotent rage which has enveloped the citizenry at this judgment by Justice Mohammed Talba of the FCT High Court, Abuja, which is absolutely laughable, should be condemned by all.

I only hope that other judges would not ridicule the efforts of the anti-corruption agencies.

Like one Monday Ubani who registered his displeasure on the judgment, I also call for and very quickly too, an urgent amendment of the Penal Code, which he says does not impose punishment sufficient enough to deter corruption. While his legal colleague Bamidele Aturu who also spoke on the judgment in The Punch of Tuesday January 29, said the sentence portrays Nigeria as a country that is not serious to fight corruption.

It is a known fact that the aged who have served our nation meritoriously die daily while waiting endlessly without getting paid their well earned meager pension.

I want to say emphatically that Justice Talba’s judgment is a great disservice to the strained investigation leading to the indictment of Yusufu. It is a slap on the EFCC officers who ordinarily would have been thrilled that their hard work be rewarded by the society and its best institutions. This is indeed a shame to the judiciary.

Another big question is: What does this teach our youths or those who have their hands in the till already? I will say it simply means ‘carry go, collect enough after all, the law will only recoup a negligible portion and you will go a free man. After all, is that not what Justice Talba did to Yusufu?

Our value system has gone down indeed. Ha! We are headed for doomsday! No shame for the thief again, wahala de!

• Ngozi Austine


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