Washington D.c — Dozens of senior Nigerian officials, former and current, are on the verge of losing their travel privileges to the United States, as Washington begins to withdraw their visas and ban them from entering the country on the strength of their loot, proven or alleged.
Quick on the list is former federal Attorney General and Justice Minister, Michael Aondoakaa, whose visa was revoked last week. Former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, and his family were banned from entering the U.S. four years ago.
Corrupt Nigerian officials are being punished for '"undermining the growth of democracy and acts designed to hinder the strengthening of democratic institutions in Nigeria," the State Department said.
The policy, Daily Independent gathered, is a fall out of the promise President Barack Obama made to President Goodluck Jonathan to assist Nigeria in the fight against corruption by targeting officials whose "acts have bothered on undermining the democratic process."
Sources said others awaiting the punitive measure include several senior assistants and security aides to the late President Umaru Yar'Adua, as well as Governors, Ministers, and heads of agencies.
"This action will also target those identified to have played a role in the controversy over the health of Yar'Adua" Washington officials added.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the action is in pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 7750, which provides authority to deny entry to the U.S. to persons with links to corruption.
Former President George W. Bush had on January 12, 2004 signed Proclamation 7750 to restrict foreign officials and their family members allegedly linked to corruption.
Obama renewed the policy after Jonathan made a case during his visit to Washington in April.
More names will be added on the list as Washington awaits the outcome of corruption cases against several Nigerian officials, the White House said.
Two prominent Nigerians themselves lamented in Lagos on Wednesday the pervasiveness of corruption in the country, as it has become a convenient national culture for those in the corridors of power, with those outside the loop also getting in on the act.
Theophilus Danjuma and Ben Nwabueze, both members of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), moaned about it, but disagreed on the way out of the political and economic morass.
Nwabueze, alarmed at the rate of corruption in the system, argued that only a bloody revolution can halt the decadence in governance.
He expressed shock at "the looting spree" in the National Assembly (NASS) "where lawmakers vote billions of Naira to themselves while those who voted them into the House live in abject poverty.
"People who were voted to serve the country go there to loot - you need to know what we (members of PAC) now know."
Nwabueze announced that the deterioration in the state of affairs is such that Nigeria has been listed among the 11 failed states in Africa and among the 17 in the world.
Arguing in favour of a violent revolution, he claimed that France is what it is today because of the success of the 1789 revolution in that country.
"I don't believe in small changes; we've had ad hoc arrangements; Nigeria needs a revolutionary change, and it has to be bloody. Those who survive it will pick up the pieces. I cannot see Nigeria survive any other way."
Nwabueze spoke at the launch of his book, Colonialism in Africa: Ancient and Modern, published in two volumes.
But Danjuma, who chaired the ceremony, said while he agrees with Nwabueze that Nigeria needs transformation, he disagrees with his approach, because a bloody revolution is not the best solution.
Bloody or violent revolutions, he noted, are dangerous since it would not spare anyone and becomes untamable once it takes off.
Danjuma, a retired General, warned: "Revolution devours its scions; it knows no friends or enemies; it is an exceedingly dangerous means of transformation.
"I am an optimist; I believe that one right man in position of authority can transform the entire country. We have not been lucky to have such a man, but we shall muddle through."