Human rights activist, Chief Frank Kokori, has advised the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to start his administration by prosecuting and jailing looters immediately after he takes oath of office on May 29.
Kokori, who is a former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, said this during an interview with our correspondent on Thursday.
The activist said by immediately prosecuting looters, Nigerians would have an idea of what the Buhari administration stands for and change would gradually set in.
He said, “You cannot change everything in four years but when Nigerians start seeing little changes in three to six months and then in one year and you see people being prosecuted and jailed for stealing public funds, and the government ensures that all the funds that were taken overseas are recovered, there is no way the needed change will not come.
“Why should Nigeria have up to $250bn in stolen funds abroad and only $35bn in our foreign reserves? The international community is aware of this and the incoming government is not foolish. Anybody that thinks he has stolen and will go scot free must be deceiving himself because if any thief goes scot free, then the All Progressives Congress-led government is not serious.
“So, the APC government must make sure that Nigerians that stole money are prosecuted and jailed while the money should be retrieved. Nobody should run a government by saying you will forget the past, no. The way Nigeria is today, people must be punished for the pains they have subjected Nigerians to.”
Kokori described the fuel scarcity across the country as unfortunate. He, however, rejected suggestions that subsidy must be removed.
He said the incoming administration must focus on building new refineries and repairing the old ones so as to stop the importation of fuel.
He said, “The question of subsidy would be looked into. It was the corruption in the subsidy that affected the sector. Once there is transparency and corruption is curbed and discipline is enforced, things will work. Why should we be importing a huge quantity of petrol?”
The former NUPENG boss, who came into limelight during the June 12, 1993 struggle, described the emergence of Buhari as a sign of good things to come.
He said the Peoples Democratic Party punished Nigerians for many years and took the citizens for granted. He said four more years of President Goodluck Jonathan would have been disastrous.
Reacting to threats by some ex-militants to return to the creeks if Buhari revoked their pipeline surveillance contracts, Kokori urged Buhari to ignore the ex-militants.
He, however, advised Buhari to ensure that the people of the South-South benefit from his government so that they would not feel marginalised.
He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to continue electoral reforms so that the next elections would be better that the previous ones.