Vanguard (Lagos)

2 July 2012

Nigeria: U.S.$3 Million Bribe - I Don't Know What to Think of Farouk Again - Tsav

interview

ALhaji Abubakar Tsav came to national renown as a fearless Police Officer. The erstwhile Commissioner of Police in Lagos State has carried on with his outspokenness even into retirement. In this interview with Vanguard, he spoke on issues arising from the scandal in the House of Representatives over its investigations of the fuel subsidy scam, corruption as a snare for the country, the reforms in the Police and the 2015 presidential contest among others. Excerpts:

The House of Representatives has been enmeshed in a scandal over its handling of the fuel subsidy probe? What is your perspective of the issue?

Before now, we were honest people , but today all that has changed. I am very disappointed at what is happening in this country. All along I held Farouk in high esteem, believing that he is a very honest person. But with what has happened, I don't know; because the whole thing is clumsy and very complicated because we don't know what the truth is in the matter.

If it is true that Otedola wanted to bribe him so that he can play down the involvement of his company in the oil subsidy saga, then, he should have alerted the Police. And why did he go to his house. And because he knew what he was coming for, he laid a booby trap for him. He set up cameras to record what would transpire between them. But Farouk is saying that he did what he did to tell the whole world that the man wanted to influence him.

There is one other issue we have to look into and that is to know if the report exonerated or implicated Zenon Oil. Where is the evidence against the company? All of these must be looked into. And if the report actually implicated the company, why did Farouk go to his house in the first place? If you are asked to probe a case you don't do that. If it were in the Police and you were given a case to investigate and after getting the truth, you have no business with the accused person at all. All you do is to rely on his evidence you have got and all the things the man has told you. You do not have anything further with him. That is why I say this whole issue is clumsy and very, very clumsy indeed.

Would you now say that the report be acted upon or discarded?

I would advise that they go through the report first and see. Did the report exonerate Zenon oil of complicity in the whole matter? If the Federal Government is convinced that what is contained in the report is the absolute truth, they should act on it.

Does this gives credence to the allusion of corruption in the National Assembly credited to former President Obasanjo?

Honestly I think that there should be a road map to address the issue of corruption in the country. I sincerely advocate that organized labour should focus on this menace. They should insist and ensure that if anyone is accused of corruption, such a person should be made to face trial and if found guilty is sentenced or convicted appropriately. That is a cause they should champion for Nigerians. Because what is happening today is that if someone is accused of corruption so much noise will be made about it and after a while nobody hears anything about it, which is obviously not good for this country.

Do you support the decision of the Acting Inspector General of Police to dismantle road blocks across the country?

To a certain extent the image of the Police has improved. But on the issue of road blocks, if they must return there should be proper supervision of the men that carryout the assignment because what happens is that if they are not properly supervised they convert the check points to toll collecting centres and before you know it a mini market springs up there and some of the kids selling petty goods are detailed to act as receivers of bribe monies for the police men at the check points.

As for the agitation for the return of the checkpoints, you will agree with me that some people feel more secured when they see the presence of the Police within their vicinity. But the truth is that the damage the road blocks are doing outweigh their benefits. You are traveling and you see police men collect monies from motorists, they don't see you but you see them. And the painful part of it all is that soldiers are joining them, our air force men also joining them which is extremely very bad. If check points must come back, then there must be proper supervision otherwise the police should rely on motorized patrols in order to make sure that the roads are free of robbers and other criminals.

What is your stance on the debate as to whether President Jonathan should contest the 2015 presidential election?

The primary responsibility of government is to provide security for the people and also ensure their well-being; on that premise, the fact is that this government has failed. There is a lot of corruption, there is a lot of insecurity, Boko Haram insurgence, kidnapping and the rest of them. There is general hardship in the country especially with the removal of fuel subsidy which has forced the increase in the price of virtually everything and our people are suffering.

So if a government is unable to provide these basic things, that government has failed. If President Goodluck Jonathan cannot tackle these challenges, why must he talk of re-contesting. Except between now and the end of his tenure he is able to address these things and there is an improvement, visible improvement, that will then provide him the platform to run again.

Platform to run again

The fact is that Nigerians want a leader who can take us to the promised land; anybody who can give us electricity, anybody who can bring down the prices of goods and services, ensure the security of lives and property and anybody who can give us purposeful leadership that is what we desire.

What would be your advise to the contending political blocks in Benue State especially after the recent Supreme Court verdict that reaffirmed the election of Governor Gabriel Suswam?

To start with, that verdict came to me as a relief because Suswam came in as governor with excellent ideas to give the people purposeful leadership but this opposition thing turned into a huge distraction. I advise the opposition to work with government by availing them necessary advises as may be required. Lets set aside do or die politics in this country; lets shun politics of thuggery, blackmail and gangsterism and do politics of civility so that our society can be a better place for. That is my candid advise to all politicians irrespective of where they find themselves or political party they belong.

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