By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and World Methodist Council President, Prelate Emeritus, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Mbang (retired), has identified civil servants and other paramilitary sectors in the country, as the areas where high rate of corruption is being practiced.
He hinted this during an exclusive interview in his house in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, recently.
The Prelate Emeritus sympathised with President Muhammadu Buhari in his corruption fight, saying: “The highest rate of corruption is in the civil service. It is the civil servants that educate the ministers to do what they do. If you want to fight corruption, it has to start from the civil service.”
The fiery preacher and courageous priest, who rose to the epitome of his calling as the first Nigerian to become the President of the World Council of Methodist Church and the longest serving Prelate in the country, also disclosed why the Nigeria Police Force operates differently from the likes of Army, Air Force and Navy in terms of reputation.
According him, “It is only former President Olusegun Obasanjo who knows some of the things I did in this country. I discovered that there were chaplaincies in the Navy, Air Force and the Army, but none in the Police Force. I urged Obasanjo that we should have chaplaincy both Muslim and Christian units, and there are now though not very strong. I found out that the lives of the army are different from that of the police, because they go to the Bible study.
“If I were here, I would have asked them to introduce the corruption war to the Customs and Immigration also because these are two deadly areas of Nigeria where you have corruption. In fact, the bank of corruption is in those two areas. The FRSC were free of corruption but have now joined the trend.”
Prelate Mbang expressed awkwardness about Buhari’s appointment of top security chiefs coming from the north, saying that this can breed violence in the country.
“What is the need for the Federal Character in the constitution? I expect every appointment to follow Federal Character so that nobody points accusing finger at you.
“There has been argument that in all the oil wells, not one Niger Delta man has owned any oil well. How would you solve a problem in this area if you don’t need each other? Army cannot solve the problem, I can promise you that. They have to look at what is hurting or itching the people of those areas.
“Has any government come to talk to people like us so we can talk to them straight forward? They won’t come. They go to militants. What do the militants know? Militants are angry for the whole people. They are not the ones who are angry. It is the older people that are angry.
“There are areas that government has to look at effectively. Why should outsiders come and own wells here when no one in the Niger Delta owns any? What kind of justification can anyone give for that? Injustice breeds violence. I’m not saying that I want violence, but once you are unjust and you openly show that you are unjust, you bring violence.
“Most of the security officials are from the north. Once you do that, you send wrong signals to people around the area. Why must there be only northerners in this area? Don’t we have security officials from other parts of the country?” he queried.
He advised the federal government that what is going on can only create more problems in the country, saying that the mere fact that everywhere is being occupied by people from the north creates the atmosphere for violence.