Posted by Tayo Olubi, Lagos | 27 August 2015 | 4,211 times
An anti-corruption civil society coalition has raised the alarm over what it alleged as attempts by some individuals in the country to thwart the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The group, which is an amalgam of several civil society organisations, made this known at a news conference held at Social Justice Centre, Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.
In a jointly signed communiqué issued to the press, the group stated that the news conference was summoned “to sensitise Nigerians on the need to rise up and support the clamour for transparency in all facets of life and to sack corruption from public and private lives.”
While reminding that, “a major campaign mantra of the president before he was voted, was to fight corruption and recover all stolen fund and looted assets of Nigeria,” the group said, it has suddenly become obvious that some individuals with special interests have begun to bandy counter arguments to truncate the anti-corruption drive of President Buhari.
Some of the counter arguments against anti-corruption war cited were: “That the anti-corruption war should start from Nigeria’s independence from Tafawa Balewa’s government and encompasses all former federal, regional and state government.
“That corruption war could threaten the nation’s peace and stability and that the fight against corruption should follow due process of the law and constitution of Nigeria.
“That corruption fight will disturb governance and that the government is spending too much time on corruption crusade at the expense of other progrmmes.”
And that, “The corruption fight is selective as only people in the main opposition party, the People Democratic Party (PDP), that lost power to the incumbent are been investigated.”
The group was particularly piqued by the fact that these arguments were being canvassed by eminent Nigerians such as former military Head of State, General. Abdusalam Abubakar, Pastor Oritsajefor and Father Matthew Kukah, who should know better.
The group in its presented statement opined that, “it will be a disservice to the nation and to us, Nigerians, as victims of corruption to leave the battle against corruption as a “Buhari’s One Man Riot Squad Against Corruption”. No, the battle is not for Buhari alone, we, the people, must seize the opportunity of Buhari’s seeming passion against corruption to participate and own the corruption crusade. We must be vigilant and become whistle blowers to help all anti-corruption institutions and government to fight corruption at every level of government and governance.”
It advised that, “The appointment of Ministers, Commissioners and Local Government political office holders must be subjected to public scrutiny beyond security checks. And all politically exposed persons in government, from President, governors, local government chairmen, et cetera must declare their assets publicly as part of anti-corruption measure so that their assets and financial status can always be tracked as a proactive measure instead of waiting for them to have corruptly enriched themselves before running after them.”
The group expressed its support for “the establishment of specialised courts for corruption cases so as to have a fair and speedy trial of corruption cases. “
And that, “the Nigerian Bar Association should, as a matter of nationalism, monitor activities of corruption compliant lawyers who help corrupt public officials to frustrate court trial process through frivolous applications and delays.”
The group, also, wants the “National Assembly members must cut their salary and allowances, in compliance with economic realities, and be supportive of the ongoing war against corruption in view of the need for sustained ethical revolution of the present regime.”
The group desires states in the federation to set up their versions of anti-corruption agencies, and that anti-corruption crusade of the president should be extended to Private companies and individuals for their conspiracy and culpabilities.
The federal government, it canvasses should, must ensure the judicious utilisation of Recovered funds for job creation and revamp of the economy.
Declaring its readiness to assist in the war against corruption, the group pledged thus: “We of the Civil Society Coalition Against Corruption will henceforth track corruption cases and actions as a proactive measure to monitor and guarantee good governance. We shall mobilise Nigerians to fully support the anti-corruption war and be ambassadors of ethical revolution to reclaim Nigeria.”
The group in conclusion notified that, “In due course, we shall publish a book on corruption cases and how corruption in high places has underdeveloped Nigeria and Nigerians.”
•Photo shows Buhari
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