According to Saharareporters,an online community of international reporters and social advocates, “former US Vice President, Dick Cheney, may soon have a “red notice” issued for his arrest as the Nigerian authorities today(7/11/2010) officially filed corruption charges against him before a Federal Capital Territory High Court judge in Abuja.Prosecutors in the Federal Attorney General’s office, led by Godwin Obla, confirmed to Saharareporters from the Office of the Minister of Justice that Nigeria has officially filed 16 -count charges to bring Dick Cheney to trial for corruptly enriching Nigerian officials when he led Halliburton, an oil services firm that distributed over $180 million to top Nigerian officials in order to obtain juicy contracts from the Nigerian government.The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is spearheading the trial of Mr. Cheney and others. According to Mr. Obla, the next steps include issuing a bench warrant and seeking the help of the Interpol to track dow and arrest Mr. Cheney to enable him face trial in Nigeria.”
A lot of Nigerians feel that the economic and financial crimes commission,EFCC,in pursuing Dick Cheney,is putting the cart before the horse.The feeling is that the EFCC should have first gone after the Nigerian recipients of the alleged bribes.In other words,the EFCC should name and prosecute the “big men”,probaby top government officials,who collected the alleged bribes.The EFCC seeming unwillingness or inability to go after the Nigerians involved in the alleged bribe incident,underscores the problems faced by domestic law-enforcement agencies created to fight against domestic political corruption,in Africa.Given that most of the people allegedly involved in acts of corruption are top government officials and their cronies,it is difficult for an agency appointed and funded by the same government to indict them.
With no one to keep them in check,top government officials are a law on to themselves.They behave with impunity.It is no wonder that the main reason Africa is poor,is because it’s leadership is poor and corrupt.Very corrupt.When the sole motivation for seeking public office is self-aggrandizement,meaningful and sustainable development will not happen.Instead,a culture of impunity and corruption will be fostered.In such an atmosphere,people of integrity will stay out of government,further denuding the system of much needed expertise and quality.If Africa is to overcome poverty and disease,it’s best hands must be on deck.This will happen only in a corruption-free and meritocrtatic system.The fight against corruption will succeed only if top government leaders,past and present,can be held accountable for their actions.
This is where the Dick Cheney case comes in.For me,the big issue here is not the culpability or otherwise of mr Cheney.Rather, it is in the fact that,by bringing charges against a former vice president of the US,we are signing-up to the international police frame-work.We now accept that,our own leaders,past and present,are subject to criminal charges,originating outside our own borders.Given the limited domestic capacity for dealing with the depredations of our leaders,the imminence of supranational interdiction of domestic corruption,calls for celebrations.Supranational is here defined as the ability to act beyond national borders.This means that supranational intervention can be achieved through the efforts of the UN or member-states.