Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, says the approach of President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption will not yield results.
In an interview with PUNCH, the lawmaker said those who allegedly looted the country’s treasury would always have a way of manipulating the courts in their favour with the resources they have.
He suggested that in the bid to recover stolen funds, an economy amnesty programme should be put in place where all those who looted the treasury would be given a stipulated time to return what they have taken.
“The president is sincere about his corruption war. But is the approach right? He cannot say so. I want to say the approach of Mr. President in fighting corruption will yield no dividends because in the ongoing trials, no single Nigerian has been successfully prosecuted and jailed,” Melaye said.
“The magnitude of resources available to the looters of our national treasury, they will have a way of manipulating Nigerian courts. Most of the cases are still at the court of first instance and one year after, witnesses have not been examined and cross-examined in the courts.
“Then you will use two years in the court of instance, you will use another two years in the Court of Appeal and you have the supreme court. By that time, the president might have been out of power, money not retrieved from the looters, time and resources wasted because the federal government is also engaging lawyers and congesting the courts.
“I believe in transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law. But in this particular incident, I am advocating for an economic amnesty in the sense that government will invite all looters and ask them to return the loot within a stipulated period of time, for example six months. If in six months the loot is not returned, then we should have a court that will expeditiously sentence them within the shortest time possible.
“By so doing, it will be a win-win situation for all because ultimately, at the end of the day, we want these monies to be recovered so that they can be used for the development of this country.”
He said the country’s procurement processes must be looked at because it gave birth to weak structures that exposed Nigerians to corruption.
Melaye further said the amendments to the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Bureau Act by the national assembly was done out of “necessity.”
“I want to say that the reason for all the amendments in the CCB and CCT Acts are also as a result of necessity. I want you to disassociate the person and personality of Saraki from any amendment because Bukola Saraki is occupying an office that is time-bound,” he said.
“These laws will live beyond him. They are lifetime established laws for generations yet unborn. It will outlive all of us and people should not tie a particular law to a particular individual. Laws are made for man and not man for laws.”