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Sunday, 9 August 2015

How corruption hit civil service – Asiodu


By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor, Clifford Ndujihe & Charles Kumolu
 The appointment with Chief Philip Asiodu was fixed for 12 noon but finding the residence of the octogenarian retired civil servant and elder-statesman was another thing that Wednesday. The reporter who made the
 contact had forgotten to note the address when the appointment was made, so when another call was made to request the specific address, the fear of the reporter was realised when the chief gently rebuked him for being careless. Chief Asiodu is undeniably a careful man, a fact that progressively unfolded as the interaction got underway following an hour long wait for him to end another meeting with an expatriate Caucasian.


The meticulousness of Asiodu was very visible from the neat arrangement of the anteroom where the three Vanguard reporters were received. It was also seen in the durable materials used in furnishing his apartment built more than thirty years ago.
The chief’s love for the arts and made-in Nigeria products was also visible. A number of art works adorned the anteroom and the lounge room where the interview was conducted.
Speaking about the house, Asiodu, who urged Nigerians, especially the elite, to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods, said the furniture (which are still very strong) were all sourced locally.
Asiodu was to note that  imported furniture, which many elite are crazy for, don’t last as the ones made by experienced local producers.
In the interview proper, Asiodu assessed the Nigerian civil service, pointed out where the country missed the mark and how to retrace our steps. He spoke on the state of the nation and why President Muhammadu Buhari cannot limit his anti-corruption war to the former President Goodluck administration. Asiodu was Chief Economic Adviser at the commencement of the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian administration in 1999, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential aspirant ahead of the 1999 election, Special Adviser to President Shehu Shagari on Economic Affairs, and well before then, one of the country’s foremost civil servants who retired as a Permanent Secretary in 1975.
AT 80 you look relatively fresh. You could pass off as a 60-year old man. What is the secret?
It is important to add a little moderation in all you do. There should also be regular exercises. The moderation should also include your eating and drinking habits. More importantly,one should try to bother less about things of life. Things are not always a bed of roses but some people take bad things badly. People are bound to disappoint you. Some bear it but others don’t.
It is unfortunate that many Nigerians age prematurely as a result of meaningless stress. In those days life was better and that accounted for the low statistics of death rate then. Those who died then, died probably at infancy. Beyond that, people lived as long as they want. So, moderation is my secret. For instance, the Itsekiri have an adage which advices people to chop life little by little.
What is your impression of the civil service of today?
I joined the civil service towards the end of the colonial era. And I became a permanent secretary under Zik and Balewa. I stayed on in the first two military regimes of Ironsi and Gowon. And then came the destruction of that civil service in 1975 when Gowon was removed. I was retired and I was the number one civilian among those retired with immediate effect! Later on, the military added an amazing phrase to our sack saying that it was done with increasing alacrity! It shows how people were not really thinking through what they were doing at that time.
Since leaving civil service I had the opportunity of coming back to the public service three times but not as a civil servant. So I have had the opportunity of seeing the civil service under the colonial and post independence era. There is no doubt that it is a completely different situation because the civil service that I joined had clear rules to be satisfied and defined conditions of entry. There were well arranged courses that you had to undertake before confirmation. And after that, there were local and international programmes to be undertaken. We had clear demarcation of classes.
There was the administrative class, which was supposed to be advising on policies. It was a class from which we had the permanent secretaries, who ran the civil service. We were able to make sure that the professionals did what they had to do. They were the ones who coordinated and formulated policy options in accordance with the objectives of the government of the day. Such recommendations were sent to the council as memoranda so that decisions would be taken. There was collective responsibility in the civil service at that time. The success of the ministry of education was also the success of the ministry of finance.
And the permanent secretaries helped to make that possible through broad consultation. Before something would be finally presented to the cabinet for approval, whoever needed to be consulted would have been consulted.
When you submit a council memorandum in those days, you do it with a file and the secretary to the premier will take it to the premier and they will make sure that it was worth it. For instance, if you want to build a secondary school in an area, it may require land and money. And so you will make sure that before finalizing the proposal that all those who will be involved are consulted.
This made for easy discussions in cabinet. It also made for seamless implementation because once it was decided, and you are now going to move into an area, the ministry of works will not deny knowing about it. That was the procedure. Those days, the things we hear now, about ministries being lucrative, didn’t exist. When you are posted to anywhere, it is your duty to do your best.

Discussions in the cabinet

The advice I will give to my minister as permanent secretary in the ministry of industries, will be coherent with the advice I will give to the minister of education. So, discussions in the cabinet were structured. And that was made possible by the competent civil service we had. Then came the debacle of 1975 when 10,000 people were asked to retire or dismissed within two months.
Even newly created states that were just putting together their civil service were asked to bring people to be retired. That act was quite unjust because there are procedures in the civil service for discipline. If anyone does anything wrong the person will be queried and if it was something urgent, the person is given 24 hours to state his case.
It was so bad that people will be at work while their wives will hear in the news that they had been retired.
Many good people, who were working very hard and even recommended for promotion found themselves in that situation. There was so much impunity and recklessness then because those people were working honestly and looking forward to retirement.
It was so bad that people whose children were schooling in Corona School and lived in the Government Quarters had to relocate to places like Ojota. Families were damaged and some even died. That was when we started hearing that people should make hay while the sun shines which is a euphemism for corruption.
Our founding fathers in 1954 before independence signed a document affirming that we should have an independent, professional and non partisan public service which would be run by professionals. We also had independent Public Service Commission which was damaged. Later on when late Monsignor Pedro Martin was asked to look into the cases of the dismissals, his report said that 90 percent of those dismissed did not deserve dismissals.
Institutional memory
When the service was truncated and dislocated, we were left without role models to ensure that the service worked. These people are supposed to ensure that there is institutional memory and other functions the civil service was supposed to have provided professionally. Before some of us were retired, we were on correspondence with British ministers.
It didn’t do us good because we lost institutional memory. To compound it, based on some ill advice, there was a decree under Babangida in 1988 whereby they now said that ministers can now hire and fire. They went on with some aberration that you can only get the leadership of a ministry from only those who were employed by such ministry.
At a time when Europeans will go to America, while Americans will go to Europe looking for competent people to run their public service, we were limiting ourselves. They also destroyed the administrative class concept. These were people who were trained to listen to experts and listen to the basis of policies and then marshal them. Udoji in his reforms said that you don’t limit the class from which you will get permanent secretaries to the administrative class. Whether you are a professional or not, by the time you will get to the managerial class, you will now go for an administrative training like anyone else.
And it is from that group that a permanent secretary will be selected. Udoji, who was head of service in the east tried to make sure that whatever route anyone took to become permanent secretary, the person will be a good administrator. This practice was damaged in 1975 and compounded in 1988.
On federal character principle
Now they invented the idea of federal character and quota system. At a time when people were looking for geniuses they were saying that we should not focus on high fliers. When we entered we had role models. We used to look for high fliers. In our days we used to send people to schools to get their best graduates even before they graduated.
We made the civil service the preferred destination. But we went into quota and misapplied the quota system. What we then had was not the civil service that we knew which was usually the destination for high fliers.
Then, you needed to have an honours degree before you enter the  administrative cadre of the   scivil service. You also needed to have proper career planning. We have lost the benefit of that and this was what came out in the dispute between Oronsaye and the public service commission. It was a situation where directors were brought in through the state civil service. It was then that they brought tenure system that people can go after eight years if they cannot rise to the next position.
Rather than saying that each state must have one or two permanent secretaries, merit should have been the basis for growth in the service. There are other things in life rather than being in the civil service. A state may have people who are interested in other pursuits. So with the great shock of 1975, stars were driven out of the service.
They made sure that the civil service was no longer the choice destination. My father was a civil servant, which was attractive then. If someone did not die early in service, that person was sure of being comfortable. It was not the route to becoming the richest man in the country.
So, did you allow your children to follow you in the service?
With the experience we received it will be difficult to have any of our children in the service, especially when our experience was occasioned by ill feelings. Some of us survived it but others did not.
What happened to us was not an inspiration to our children. When we were growing up, promotion was strictly according to the organizational chart.
If there was no space for the position of permanent secretary, nobody will be made a permanent secretary. After the disruption of 1975, they just started promoting people without respect to the organogram of the service. So we ended up having a public service without traditions. The fact that the service is no longer secure and objective did not do good to the public service. To show the decay, there was a time an examination was introduced for people who were to be made permanent secretaries and a number of them could not even write minutes.
When you look at what we have in the civil service today, it is a far cry from what we had. Up to 1975, salaries of public servants were quite comparable with our British counterparts. Indian consultants who came here then earned more in Nigeria than in India.
In terms of training, courage, entry qualification and career planning, we have gone backward and we must restore it.
How can we restore it?
It is until the leadership of the political class realize that you need a proper civil service for you to deliver. The civil service is the first manifestation of government to the people. Someone will need a permit for investment, instead of getting it, the person will be delayed for unjust reasons.
Permit for  investment
For instance, when I was in the Transitional Council in 1993, they had advertised for people to express interest in deep water offshore/new technology. People had been short listed for two years without response. When I came I did it under three months. There was no need wasting such time. What was needed was simulation which was not done before I came. The idea of come today, come tomorrow does not help because the world does not owe us a living.
In the last 20 years especially in the oil sector, the amount of investments that have moved elsewhere as a result of indecision is so much. Now, they are talking about Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, when oil policies need adjustments on a quarterly basis. When the law is eventually passed, it may take them six years to start implementing it.
Are you saying that the PIB is not necessary?
The PIB is not necessary. PIB in their thinking which is to put all laws governing the oil industry into one is not necessary.  A non performing civil service can frustrate the best intentions of government.
If people realize that they are going into politics for public interest and not for self aggrandisement as we have witnessed, thing will begin to change. We can restore the civil service to become efficient but it will take the best part of two administrations. You can start the process by naming the minimum qualifications for certain positions.
President Buhari recently asked that audit queries piling up for years should be replied within 30 days. How was it in your time?
I was very shocked to read that audit queries were outstanding. First, we had internal audit which may raise questions. Beyond that, the external auditors can come to raise issues maybe on the money that was not applied. In our days, no money was spent which was not budgeted for.
And if you had to spend money outside the budget, you have to come to the council and ask for variation. The person can come to the council to state that there was need to channel money to a different cause. That will be approved. And the accountant in charge of an organization did not allow money to be used except the one budgeted for or approved by the council. If the auditor now finds it funny, he raises a query which should be answered immediately.
If it is kept under, it means that the person has skeleton in his cupboard. And this has been the reason for the misapplication of money and bloated budget. I want to make it clear that the Federal Government budget never exceeded £40 million pounds a year. With that, they built 4,000 miles of railway.
Farm settlements
They built the habours in Lagos, Sapele, Warri, Calabar and Port-Hacourt. They provided airports in Lagos and Kano. They built the schools which the people before me and those of my generation went to. It was from the schools that we went to Oxford. In the First Republic, it was after some time under Balewa and Okotie Eboh as Minister of Finance that revenue reached 50 million pounds. In that era, we built farm settlements, industrial centres, new secretariats and more importantly, scholarships were awarded.
When Gowon came in, it was in his second year that our revenue reached 100 million pounds and by then the civil war was ongoing. The war was fought without borrowing. We also started the rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction programme without borrowing. Our economy was growing at 11.75 percent yearly. That was from 1970 to 1975. We would have escaped poverty if we had continued in that manner successively. We were the African lion as compared to the Asian Tigers. I am not saying this because Gowon was removed, because the two leading members in the coup that removed Gowon, who were Obasanjo and Murtala were part of the Gowon administration. The 1975-80 national development plan started by saying that oil was not meant to last. It emphasised agriculture and agro-allied industries. We also factored in petro-chemicals. That basis for a proper industrial sector was abandoned. It was not only abandoned, the discipline of identifying priorities was abandoned.
After the 1975 coup, the metallurgical complex we started in Ajaokuta was not completed. Then they went to Delta which was not in the plan. Even at that, they were going to base it on imported beneficiated ore. But without digging Escravos which was started in 60s and abandoned, only 10, 000 tonners could come in. But ores are carried in big 50, 000 tonners.
They abandoned the Itakpe plant. We started the plan of assembling motor vehicles. We had worked out the deletion rates to show that at 150,000 cars a year, we will be casting the engine blocks in Nigeria. But that was abandoned when we left. Our plan was done in such a way that we would not have been importing cars by now. First, they came up with differentials by basing Peugeot in Kaduna. Then under the Shagari government they invited seven more people to be involved in vehicle assembling. And that killed the deletion process which we had begun. You know we had started producing radiators, but that required a certain volume. But all were allowed to collapse. Later on, they said that everybody can import.
Automobile policy
Even the new automobile policy which allows all sorts of people to assemble vehicles will not work. Even before we started our plans then, we had to put everything into consideration. We looked at three Latin American countries, Brazil, Peru and Mexico and learned from their experience. Brazil concentrated on Volkswagen and they started exporting after some time. We took the model, and if it had been followed, we would have been exporting today. We started assembling before South Korea, today we import Korean cars.
This is what happens when you do not stick to the discipline of planning. We then negotiated in reducing 100 percent concession with the oil companies. We later reduced it to forty five and fifty. I was a principal negotiator. That was going to give us more money, but Gowon was removed within four months. The trillions and millions you hear about today, did not come under Gowon. But under Gowon, the Ring Roads, new airports and other things were built. There was expansion of schools also. Remember that oil was about 14 dollars per barrel before Gowon left. What have we done since Gowon left? Maybe the road infrastructure in Abuja.
We heard the President saying that 150 billion dollars was stolen, it may be more than that. The point is that we did not have a proper independent public service as a guardian of national interest. In a developing country we don’t need different think-tanks, we are supposed to have a limited pool of people, and these people are to be found in the civil service. They are to analyse and offer the best policy advice.
Can you now proffer solutions to the economic difficulties confronting the nation?
Our economic challenges are over stated. We live in the world and we are not alone in that crisis. When I first got to the ministry of petroleum, oil was two dollars per barrel. It rose to three dollars. What happened from 2000 to now when oil rose from over 100 dollar before slumping to 50 dollar, is very unusual.
I personally believe that if we reined in corruption, inflation of cost of public procurement and try quickly to make proper power available at constant prices, things will get better. We should also try to stimulate the economy even at 50 or 40 dollars per barrel, Nigeria will have enough money to run a good accelerated developing economy. How many of our neighbours are exporting oil? Are they not existing? Some are even flourishing more than us. So, I think the key is to serve a notice that we would not condone this unsustainable level of corruption.
The kind of corruption going on the country is competitive. I was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council set up when Jonathan became President. We disbanded ourselves when he won election. And so I know that the budget of the National Assembly in 2000 was probably about N19 billion both recurrent and capital expenditure. By 2010 it had become N141 billion with same number of legislators.
Some figures we saw at that time made us know that a senator earned N47 million a quarter. When that is multiplied by four, then you will know what it was. When put together, a Nigerian senator was earning a salary that is four times higher than the salary of the American President, who is the President of an economy that is 20 times the size of the rebased Nigerian economy. That is scandalous! This same manner of wasteful use of money applies to the executive. I cannot understand why, the recurrent expenditure has been accounting for 75 percent of the federal government expenditure. At a retreat with the President and some political office holders, I proposed a salary structure that starts with N30 million. That should start from Mr. President while it will eventually cascade down.
The US President is drawing about half a million dollars while per capita income in America is about $45, 000. What is the relationship? In any case, 70 percent of Nigerians are living on less than $2 a day.
Making the Forbes list should not be through public service. Secondly, our people should know that history of great men is not history of the richest men. It is the history of those who have transformed the society for the better. If they want to be so rich they can leave government and do business. If we follow my suggestions, we can reduce the cost of governance by 30 percent. No American state has so many appointees. Let us as politicians and party people create an economy which is developing and let that be where we make our money and not drawing from the public purse. So, I don’t subscribe that we are in a very bad shape. We are only in this condition because we have turned public service into a place for looting.

So what was President Jonathan’s reaction to your observation on the National Assembly budget?
We addressed him in even stronger terms than I am addressing you. We advised the bar association to take the National Assembly to court. For two years the case was constantly being postponed until finally one judge said the NBA had no locus in a constitutional matter. Surprisingly, the man who succeeded the then bar association president did not appeal the judgement.
I have volumes of the reports we gave Mr. President. We will present the report, which he will give to his chief of staff and that was the end of it. None of us in the committee was one day invited by the president to discuss any of our recommendations. And so, we disbanded ourselves.
In 1975 we were becoming a middle income economy. Our economy was growing at 11.5 percent for five years until the coup. We would have grown in subsequent years. We have the unique geographical advantage to be supplying the plastic shoes and other things to the US because we are closer to America than Asian countries. We had textile industry that was employing millions of people until 20 years ago, but it was destroyed by unfavorable government policies. We also had a booming textile industry in Aba which was destroyed. With our genius, the Aba and Abriba tailors would have been making clothes that can be sold in European and American markets. So, our economy is just waiting to be stimulated.
We have to fight corruption frontally bearing in mind that the first coup plotters of 1966 had denounced those collecting five and 10 percent as kickbacks. There are some international reports that said that in public procurement, Nigerians were inflating what they were doing by a factor of 200 and 300 percent. Therefore, this means that if we are able to reduce corruption, Nigeria will do well. The government should ensure that those found corrupt are punished accordingly. That will send a strong message across the country. And the government must live according to what it preaches. We are eminently governable.
Buhari and Idiagbon brought War Against Indiscipline and people queued but as soon as they left people started becoming disorderly. So we are eminently governable. So the man who sets the law must live by what he says. And I hope that he we will be lucky this time because I believe that President Buhari has learnt from his first experience. He should monitor his lieutenants so that what he says should go down to the lowest apparatchik.

You, Gen Yakubu Gowon and three other super-permanent secretaries were accused of starting some of these things you have mentioned led to Nigeria’s current quagmire. How true is that?
It is one of those unfortunate things people say. And when you do not correct falsehood, it begins to take a life. When the coup happened in 1966, they wanted us to become ministers but we refused because we said the army was not in power to be permanent. And we pleaded that we must get the leaders whom the world knew to join his government. It was based on our recommendation that Awolowo, Arikpo, Tarka , Briggs, Aminu-Kano and others were brought in.
We were those, who helped to plan that Gowon should go by 1976. No civil servant that I know was a party to Gowon abandoning the 1976 handover date. As a matter of fact, it was some military people that were pressuring him that they wanted to become governors. And I believe he gave them the instruction that he will do so, but he did not implement it for about three years. He kept postponing. The last postponement happened because he had worked out the names of people he wanted to appoint governors, but he wanted the queen to visit in October before doing that.
Those of us being blamed worked quietly to get things done properly. Gowon may have his reservations for not appointing, and some were good reasons because some of the military people pressurising him then, had done heinous things at the war front. And you cannot imagine him making some of them governors. At that time, we also gave names of about eight governors who should be changed. And the governors got to know but did nothing to us.
The politicians felt that without the support of the civil service, the military people would not have remained. We saw the need to support the government of the day. And as far as we were concerned, keeping Nigeria was more important than the interest of the politicians. We even produced a memo telling Gowon that he may not last for six months if he did not start a consultative parliament and stop decrees from being promulgated without debates. Those documents are still available. And later on when he was removed they must have found the documents there.
And when we thought things were drifting against the tenets of the civil service, we arranged a meeting at the Supreme Headquarters to be presided over by Admiral Wey, who was the second in command to him and Gen. Gowon got to know and he left his office to attend the meeting uninvited. We still discussed our agenda particularly, the necessities of the changes we wanted him to make.
How did he react?
Gowon is a very pleasant man. He was not angry. He wanted to hear things we would say. He knew us very well because we had been with him before he became the Head of State. When the second 1966 coup happened, we had no government for two days. When the army pushed him forward, (as head of state) we had a meeting with him at the Police Headquarters which was the best place. We told him that since he had been chosen, he needed to meet the press. We gave him the questions that will be asked and when he met the world press there was no question that was asked that he didn’t know about. That was the bond between us. We were serving the country and not individuals.
How true is it that the initial aim of the second coup was for the North to secede?
Gowon was not among the coup plotters. But the people who planned the coup wanted to correct the marriage of 1914. They wanted to blow up the Cater Bridge and then secede. But civil servants like the late Abdulazeez Attah and Daggash sat down to question that secession plan. He said it would be disastrous for Nigeria to break up then because there was no authority in the country. Meanwhile, some northern civil servants were consulting then.
One of them told me that some cattle rearers who heard of the plans to break up met some top northern civil servant and cautioned them against war against brothers. They wanted an assurance that after the breakup, they will still be able to take their cattle to Enugu and sell. During those two days when there was no government, people did not know because the permanent secretaries and other civil servants kept working.

You had another opportunity to serve under Obasanjo, who was among those who truncated the National Development Plans. What were your inputs then and how did he receive it?
I failed and I bowed out. Though they had done what they did in 1975, he had the African Leadership Forum which published beautiful memos on what democracy should be. He was the Editor –in-Chief. The group was the first to produce a book called Nigeria in 2010. In the meantime, under Abacha, we had the Vision 2010. Although I was an aspirant in 1999, the PDP manipulated the process and gave the ticket to Obasanjo. He did not win even in his local government and under the PDP rules he should not have been a candidate. After he won he invited me to moderate a seminar (for his policy team). The invitation was for myself and the late Awoniyi.
For four days and four nights we brainstormed with Obsanajo on what each ministry should do. We also treated the profile of would be ministers and the calibre of ministers. And in that group, more than 10 of us were academics. He accepted our proposals. So when he invited me as the chief economic adviser, I agreed thinking he was going to implement the proposal. He did not like the Vision 2020 because he did not like the Abacha connection to it. But Abacha did not read even one paragraph of that report.
As far as Abacha was concerned, if that was what we wanted, we could have it while he was doing what he was doing. In fairness, things were set out and it was advised that we should have an implementation council with about 15 ministers and 15 non ministers. I was one of them. He knew my views but did not refuse my appointment. Before Abacha died, he was coming to the meetings, I don’t know what would have happened if he did not die.When Obasanjo came to power, I thought the 2010 recommendation should be followed. What has killed this country is the refusal of any new government to build upon what the predecessor had done. Unfortunately I failed. He refused to pursue vision 2010.
When Jonathan came, he came with transformation agenda which was 2011-2015. To me, it was unfortunate because once policy thrusts are personalised, it leads to discontinuity. I hope that Buhari will go back to the era of having things done along the principles of collective responsibility. Government must be synergistic.

Do you think Buhari should continue running the government with civil servants given that things seem to be working?
I am not privy to the fact that he is running the government with only civil servants. It is true that there are no ministers in place. And when the minister is not there, the permanent secretary stands in for him. Buhari also has some friends and advisers, who may also be advising him. So I would not give 100 percent credit to the civil servants. Now, can we continue like this? The answer is no. It will be unconstitutional to do so. We are practising a democracy. The executive is produced by the political class, who are supposed to be expressing the will of the people. Orderliness must be respected and I am sure the President would sooner or later appoint his ministers. I support the President in his insistence that in appointing ministers, as a signal for the future, Nigeria needs people who have no baggage.
I hope that the process of getting the background of those to be appointed would yield good results. I am wishing the President better luck this time than when he was a military leader. He left office not self enriched, so his ministers and appointees should also see him as a model. We know that some who served under him in the past enriched themselves, he should make sure that those who will work with him now should be accountable. He should also right size most appointments that were done before him because many were not appointed on merit. I must stress that I am all for limiting the number of ministers maybe to 18. The American government is governed by 12 departments. To further get things right, states in America also do that. Governors in our states should not also be seen as sole authorities. There is also no need for full time legislature.

Are you still a member of the PDP?
I ceased being a member when they came up with revalidation exercise. I left government in 2001 and did not attend any meeting since then. I have always maintained that there are no political parties in Nigeria. I am non partisan and I have been trying to see if we should form a non partisan movement and recruit young people. Our message will focus on how to make Nigeria great without looting the public treasury. You can’t add to comfort, you can only add to statistics. How many of the famous generals that made money during the military era, lived up to 60?

Buhari has limited the scope of his anti-corruption fight to Jonathan’s administration. Are you satisfied with that considering the fact that systemic corruption predated that administration?
Did he say so? The President knows that crime is not time bound. Supposing tomorrow the Americans demand the extradition of somebody who was mentioned in the Halliburton scandal, will the President say he will not allow the person to be extradited? As far as I am concerned, there is no time and energy for a holistic probe of Jonathan’s administration. There are one or two glaring cases like the NNPC scandal and procurement in the defense sector that should be focused on so that positive signal will be sent across. What we need in this country is not to have all corrupt people in court; rather two or three cases should be focused on and positively pursued to get justice. But in the meantime, any case stumbled upon or raised by our international friends, we should not hesitate to let the law take its course otherwise there will be endless probes. And we have many lawyers who are ready to bring out technicalities that will delay the cases. I am for some obvious cases being pursued immediately and I repeat that no cow should be seen as scared. And anyone who is mentioned in a reputable jurisdiction abroad, the person should be allowed to go abroad to defend himself.

What is your position on the back log of civil servants’ salaries being owed by most states?
Owing of salaries is very unfortunate and should not happen especially when you look at the things they do in government. The amount of money they waste is alarming. People should be paid their salaries.

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