Sunday, March 20, 2016

You Are Biased, Probe Looters In Your Party (APC): Nigerians Tell President Buhari

Some concerned Nigerians on Friday flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for excluding suspected corrupt members of the ruling All Progressives Congress from the radar of its anti-corruption campaign.



They agreed that Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign would not achieve any success unless everybody suspected to have looted public funds, including APC supporters, is probed.

Their position followed a recent report that investigations into how funds disbursed from the Central Bank of Nigeria into the accounts of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidates during the last elections would soon begin.

The PDP fielded 29 candidates during the last elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had revealed on Monday that N3.145bn was transferred from the CBN into other accounts for election purposes.

The presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party in the last general elections, Chief Martin Onovo, said there were looters in the APC as they were in the PDP, but claimed that it was unfortunate that Buhari’s government was going after suspected PDP looters alone.

He said, “The unfortunate thing is that the citizens have been deceived to believe that the APC-led government is fighting corruption, when the government is actually promoting the menace.

“Many APC supporters, who have corruption cases against them, have not been invited for interrogation. The Lagos State Government published serious allegations against the Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yet he has not been invited for interrogation by any relevant government agency.

“Also, the APC governorship candidate in Bayelsa State in the last election, Timipre Sylva, was brought to court by the EFCC, but the moment the APC came to power, the case suddenly collapsed. Is that how to fight corruption?

“If the Federal Government is probing how the PDP got fund for its campaign, then the government should also probe how the APC campaign was funded.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the Ijaw National Congress, Mr. Victor Borubo, stressed the need to extend the investigation of election funding beyond the PDP governorship candidates to those of other political parties.

Borubo said, “The investigation of parties and candidates should be done across board. When you limit it to a particular party, it begins to seem like a witch hunt. We have the APC, the PDP, the All Progressives Grand Alliance and a lot of other parties. Their funding should be investigated across board, otherwise nobody will take the ruling government’s fight against corruption seriously.”

Also, the President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, said that focusing anti-corruption fight on one political party would be counter-productive, “as it will send a wrong message”.

He said, “We have always said that fighting corruption should be holistic and not directed at some individuals or groups so that it doesn’t send a wrong message.”

Coordinator, Federation of the Middle Belt People, Manasseh Watyil, asked the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to prosecute members of the APC and other parties in cases where they had been found culpable.

He said states like Lagos and Rivers where governments had also allegedly spent public funds on election campaigns should also be probed.

He said, “Those states need to be investigated because probably, they were being financed by the government of the day. So if that happened, nobody is above the law. If your hand is soiled, definitely you must be investigated. We think that whoever must have used state funds or collected money as a political party should be probed, not only the PDP.”

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yusuf Ali, asked security agencies to arrest and prosecute suspected looters of public fund.

He said, “The work of security agencies is to investigate crimes when they suspect that a crime has been committed. So if they also believe that other parties have committed crimes, then they should go after them and investigate.

The spokesperson, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said, “There is no President that can fight corruption in this country; for you to get elected, it needs corruption. The electoral system is just too expensive that you cannot access power through honest means.”

However, the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, told one of our correspondents that the anti-graft agency does not probe political parties but individuals that are believed to have stolen or received public funds illegally.

Uwujaren noted that the current probe was tied to funds illegally received from government accounts.

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