Nige­ria’s Zuma statue slammed

Cape Argus - - WORLD -

LAGOS: The un­veil­ing of the statue of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma last month and that of Liberian Pres­i­dent Ellen John­son-Sir­leaf last week in Ow­erri, the Imo State cap­i­tal in Nige­ria, has con­tin­ued to gen­er­ate crit­i­cism and calls to anti-cor­rup­tion agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate the gov­er­nor’s ac­tions.

The So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights and Ac­count­abil­ity Project (Serap), an NGO, has pe­ti­tioned the chair­per­son of the Code of Con­duct Bureau and that of the In­de­pen­dent Cor­rupt Prac­tices and Other Re­lated Of­fences Com­mis­sion, to jointly “in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of in­com­pat­i­bil­ity or an ap­par­ent con­flict of in­ter­est and abuse of of­fice in­volv­ing gov­er­nor Rochas Oko­rocha of Imo State in con­nec­tion with the ex­er­cise of his pub­lic func­tions and lead­er­ship of the Rochas Oko­rocha Foun­da­tion’’. In a state­ment re­leased on Sun­day by Serap, the body also wants the two agen­cies to col­lab­o­rate with the anti­graft agency, the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion, in any in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Such in­ves­ti­ga­tion would help to im­prove pub­lic con­fi­dence in pub­lic au­thor­i­ties, and min­imise the risks of bad gov­ern­ment by pub­lic of­fi­cials,” Serap said.

It ex­pressed “se­ri­ous con­cern” that the gov­er­nor may have spent over 1 bil­lion Nigerian naira (about R40 mil­lion) of pub­lic funds to build stat­ues of the two African pres­i­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to the group, the spend­ing on stat­ues and ap­par­ent mis­use of pub­lic re­sources may have vi­o­lated con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards on code of con­duct for pub­lic of­fi­cers.

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