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Soft judges encourage crime Archbishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2013 p 7. February 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Corruption.
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A two year prison term or an option of paying a fine of £3000 for stealing £9.3 million from the Nigerian Police Pension Fund was an invitation to politicians to steal, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh told members of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee in Benin City last week.

On 6 Feb 2013 Archbishop Okoh said he was appalled by the lenient treatment given by the Abuja High Court to convicted thief John Yusuf. “Nigerians are unhappy with the kid-glove treatment given to a man who, by his act, must have killed many pensioners. It is a great encouragement to looters of government treasury. Whatever is responsible for such encouragement of evil, government should act promptly to show the people where its sympathy lies.”

The Washington, DC-based NGO, Transparency International, gave Nigeria a score of 27 out of a possible 100 in 2012, placing the country among the most corruption plagued countries in the world, earning the same score as Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan.

Denmark scored a 90 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) edging out New Zealand for first place. Somalia edged out Afghanistan and North Korea to came in last of the 176 nations surveyed, scoring 8 on the CPI. Among the nations of West Africa, Nigeria ranked 14th while Cape Verde was ranked 1st in the region with a score of 60 and Ghana second with a score of 45. Africa’s highest ranking nation on the CPI was Botswana which was ranked 30th world wide with a score of 60.

The CPI ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 – 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean.

While the government had taken steps in recent months to confront the terrorist violence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, “equal attention should be given to the insecurity created by armed robbers, kidnappers, and human trafficking across the country,” the archbishop said.

On 5 Feb 2013 the Archdeacon of Ogidi, the Ven. Obi Ubaka reported the vicar of Umunachi in Awka State had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The archdeacon said the Rev. James Achigbu and his wife were driving home from visiting a neighboring church when their car was stopped at a road block by a criminal gang.  The archdeacon reported the gang has demanded money, but the parish has stated it will not pay a ransom and has appealed to the kidnappers for the release of their priest.

In his address to the standing committee, Archbishop Okok called upon the government “to do more to address the sore issues of unemployment for young graduates and general poverty in the country.   In addition, we wish to advice government at all levels to make corruption unattractive to both the rich and the poor.”

A spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, responded to the archbishop’s call by noting the church’s role in transforming Nigeria. “The theme of the meeting, overcoming the challenges of the time is apt and divinely inspired. As leadership and representatives of the entire membership of the Church of Nigeria you will take up the challenge of re-invigorating the Church in the vanguard of our national transformation efforts,” Gov. Oshiomhole told the gathering.