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Buhari Administration Scored High On Anti-Corruption |The Republican News

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The Anti-Corruption Research and Data-Based Initiative (ARDI) has scored President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration high in the fight against corruption.

Dennis Aghanya, Executive Secretary of ARDI, gave the present administration the pass mark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

“I will score Mr President very high especially in the fight against corruption. He may not have achieved completely the expectations of everybody, but he has achieved quite above average and that is encouraging,” Aghanya said.

“Fighting corruption is all about the reorientation of our moral and ethical values which requires changing the psychology and the unethical, age-long mindset of the society from bad to good.

The ARDI boss said that fighting corruption could not be achieved overnight.

“First, he is working hard to strengthen the existing anti-corruption agencies so that they can meet up with modern challenges in that sector.

“He even went further to introduce more agencies by constituting the Special Presidential Panel on Recovery of Public Property Act, 1983.

“Then he has gone further to consolidate on his strategies with various Executive Orders. How else would one indicate sincere interest to fight corruption?

“These steps help to lay an enduring foundation in the fight against corruption,” he said.

Aghanya noted that it was the first time Nigeria produced a president who clearly supported the fight against corruption, saying that “fight against corruption’’ is virtually on the lips of all and sundry.

He said the impact of Buhari’s milestone achievements would be felt by Nigerians, urging the president to remain focused in his determination to get the country back on the right path.

“It is usually very easy to destroy, but most difficult to amend. We will get it right because we are now on the right path, but it will certainly take some time,” he said.

(Source: NAN)

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Patience Jonathan Accuses EFCC Of Witch Hunt, Plans To Destroy Her Family |RN

Wife of former president Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), of a witch-hunt against her and her family, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.

A statement issued by her media aide, Mr Belema Meshack-Hart, on Monday, in Abuja, quoted Mrs Jonathan as saying that the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, was “prosecuting a plot to destroy my family”.

“Magu’s vindictive disposition towards my family is portraying the organisation as an agency for revenge,” it further quoted her as saying.

Mrs Jonathan specifically accused Magu of bias and intimidation, saying that the EFCC boss was “spreading barefaced falsehood and propaganda against me in the name of investigations”.

She accused the EFCC of “unjustified witch hunt”, saying that no other former first lady had faced “such brazen intimidation in the history of this country”.

“For almost three years, the EFCC has beamed its searchlight on me and my family members, including my siblings and parents, as well as my Foundation and Non-Governmental Organisation.

“As a tradition, every First Lady in this country has had one pet project or the other, with which they sought to intervene in the lives of the less privileged.

“Mrs Jonathan started her NGO in Bayelsa State 11 years ago, when her husband was the Governor of that State.

“With it, she has, over the years, touched the lives of many Nigerians indifferent ways.

“It is surprising that while other First ladies and their pet projects were left alone, it is only her activities and

that of her NGOs that are being subjected to indefinite probe and microscopic scrutiny.

“In a method that clearly bears out the axiom of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it, the EFCC has maliciously linked Mrs Jonathan to all kinds of fake possessions and properties around the country.

“It has come to a point where all the magnificent edifices in Abuja, Yenagoa or Port Harcourt are presented

to the media as belonging to Mrs Patience Jonathan. She has been accused of owning several plots of land in many cities across the country, including places she has never visited.

“The most astonishing of all is that her close relatives are being victimized and their personal properties are being investigated,” the statement stated.

It urged Buhari to intervene on the matter to ensure justice for the former first family and also ensure that the EFCC’s actions were not interpreted as part of a larger plot to disgrace his (Buhari)’s predecessor.

Efforts to speak with EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, were not successful, but a senior official of the commission, rejected suggestions that the outfit was out on a witch hunt.

“We are not out on a witch hunt; we are not targeting anyone or family for a witch hunt; it is not only Mrs Jonathan that is being investigated. Many people are answering questions in various places.

“Those found guilty will be charged before a competent court of law; those who have nothing to hide should have no fear because we shall not victimise anyone that is innocent,” the source told NAN, craving anonymity. (NAN)

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Alleged $1.6bn Scam: Court Strikes Out Charge And Deziani’s Name |RN

Deziani madueke

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday struck out one of the nine counts of $1.6billion crude oil fraud filed against the businessman, Jide Omokore, and five others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This was a sequel to an application by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, who alleged that she was not accorded the opportunity to defend herself after being indicted in the particular count. Others facing trial for the alleged crime include Omokore, his two companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited. Others are a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Victor Briggs; a former group executive director, exploration and production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Abiye Membere and a former manager, planning and commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo.
The anti-graft agency had preferred nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6billion alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government, against the six defendants.
Allison-Madueke, who was said to be currently in the United Kingdom facing some legal proceedings, was not listed among the existing six defendants in the case to defend the charge, but she was, together with Briggs, Membere and Mbanefo, in count eight, accused of aiding Omokore in the commission of money laundering offence.
The offence she and others were accused of was said to be contrary to section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
But the former minister, through her lawyer, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), on September 18, 2017, filed an application seeking among other prayers, an order directing an amendment to the charges, by adding her name as the seventh defendant to enable her to defend herself with respect to the eighth count.
She also told the judge that she would be grossly prejudiced by a refusal of the application, which would further compound the gross violation of her constitutional rights.
Opposing the application, lawyer for the EFCC, Mr Aliyu Yusuf, urged the court to refuse Diezani’s application seeking to be joined as a defendant. He said that Diezani, who is on self-exile, is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for several crimes and has been admitted to bail in the United Kingdom but cannot leave the country.
Yusuf said: “The applicant seeing that the investigations by the Metropolitan Police had reached the advanced stage and that trial in the instant charge before this honourable court is proceeding smoothly had designed the instant application to distract and scuttle both her investigation and imminent prosecution in the United Kingdom and the trial before this court.”
He also argued that Diezani knew she would not be able to leave the United Kingdom in view of the ongoing investigation and imminent prosecution. Therefore, she is seeking the order to amend the charge for her name to be included on the face of the charge in order “to escape from investigation and prosecution in the United Kingdom under the guise that she is coming to face her trial before this court and also scuttle the trial.”
In his ruling, Justice Dimgba ruled that the EFCC could not have its cake and eat it because by including Diezani’s name in count eight, the commission ought to make her one of the defendants.
“It looks like blackmail,” the judge said and added that the court had no option than to strike out count eight of the charge, where Diezani’s name was mentioned. He adjourned trial of the substantive matter till October 5 and 6, 2017.   (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Chief Justice Of Nigeria Creates Corruption, Financial Crime Court

Walter-Onnoghen

CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has directed heads of the divisions of courts to establish a special court for corruption and financial crimes cases.

This, he explained will curb the unnecessary delay associated with the prosecution of such cases.

In addition, the CJN has further directed heads of courts to compile and forward to the National Judicial Council (NJC), comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crime cases with them.

Justice Onnoghen disclosed the measures Monday at the special session of the Supreme Court where he administered oath on 29 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).

Speaking in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and other dignitaries including state governors and past Chief Justices of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen said they were aimed at supporting the fight against corruption of the present administration.

In order for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to monitor and effectively enforce the foregoing Policy, the CJN announced that an Anti-Corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee will be constituted at the next Council meeting.

The committee, he explained, “would be saddled with, among other things the responsibility of ensuring that both Trial and Appellate Courts handling corruption and financial crime cases key into and abide by our renewed efforts at ridding our country of the cankerworm.”

Justice Onnoghen further directed Heads of Courts to clamp down on both Prosecution and Defence Counsel who indulge in the unethical practice of deploying delay tactics to stall criminal trials.

He said; “Heads of Courts are now to report such cases to the NJC which in turn, would transmit them to the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, in the case of Senior Advocates, and Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee in the case of other Legal Practitioners.”

“Heads of Courts have been directed to designate in their various jurisdictions, one or more Courts, depending on the volume of such cases, as Special Courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedily determining corruption and financial crime cases.

“Where such cases come on appeal, to either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, Special Dates on each week, shall be fixed solely for hearing and determining such appeals.

The CJN noted that the judiciary cannot win this war alone; hence the need for collaboration and interface with stakeholders in this noble cause.

“We are under no illusion that the fight against corruption would be an easy one, as we are already aware that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back; but we are determined to win it. We require all hands to be on deck to fight this monster.

“We in the Supreme Court, having reduced the pre-election appeals in the course of the Third Term of the last Legal year, will devote much of this First Term in dealing, by way of task work, with the identified eighteen (18) EFCC, ICPC, and Economic Crime cases alongside the normal Civil, Criminal, and Political cases,” he revealed.

The CJN observed “We must not lose sight of the indispensable role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption.

“Corruption continues to place the judiciary in the eye of the storm, but, we cannot allow that to deter us or weaken our resolve. It is regrettable that the image of the Judiciary has been tarnished by the notion that the Nigerian Judiciary is bedevilled by corrupt elements, hence the need for an image-building parade. We must accept that acts of misconduct of a few rub off on the rest of the judiciary and create the impression that all judicial officers have their hands soiled with the proceeds of corruption. Let me be clear here; it is not going to be business as usual for the few unscrupulous elements in our midst.”

Justice Onnoghen said he was determined to redeem the battered image of the judiciary.

“Any judicial officer found wanting would be dealt with decisively, and shown the way out swiftly. It is therefore for this reason that the independence of the judiciary must be entrenched if we are to hold the trust and confidence of the citizens of Nigeria.

We, in the judiciary, are fully aware and in fact worried by concerns expressed by members of the public on the very slow speed with which corruption cases, in particular, are being heard or determined by our courts.”

He noted that although the Administration of Criminal Justice Act contains many commendable provisions to speed up the process of criminal prosecution generally, it is clear that we still need to employ more strategies to support and strengthen this law in fast-tracking the criminal justice system.

On his part, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) applauded the vigorous process of reforms aimed at re-positioning the nation’s judiciary to play its role in a more humane and efficient manner.

Malami also acknowledged Justice Onnoghen’s Circular on Practice Direction dated May 28 on the compulsory enforcement of Arbitration provisions in contracts by the courts in order to promote faster commercial dispute resolutions and foster greater confidence in the judicial system by domestic and foreign investors.  (The Sun)

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CJN, Okonjo-Iweala, Fayemi, Fayose, Others Under Probe, Says EFCC |RN

Walter-Onnoghen
                      CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State; his predecessor and the current Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi; and the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are among high-profile personalities currently under its investigation.

The names are contained in the list of high-profile cases involving over 100 politically-exposed persons and top-ranking public officers still being investigated by the EFCC as of August 2017, The PUNCHreliably learnt on Monday.

The list, sighted by one of our correspondents via an EFCC source on Monday, was recently sent by the anti-graft agency to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), based on a request.

Sunday PUNCH had reported that the list, sent to the AGF’s office earlier in August, comprised over 100 high-profile cases including the cases of a Justice of the Supreme Court and a judge of the Federal High Court.

Sunday PUNCH has also reported that some former governors, one of whom currently serves as a minister in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, and others serving their terms in the Senate, as well as other politically-exposed persons, including some former ministers, senators and some persons, are being investigated for the $2.1bn arms purchase scam.

“The list was actually sent in August to the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and copied the AGF,” another EFCC source said on Tuesday.

The list, sighted earlier on Monday, listed 106 cases under investigation and several others pending in court but either stalled or moving slowly.

It did not disclose the details of the cases under investigation.

It, however, stated the date each of the over 100 cases was “referred”, the challenges being encountered in the investigation and the source of information leading to the commencement of the probe.

Sources of such information for the cases were listed against each of the cases.

They include intelligence, whistleblowers and petitions from government agencies and private citizens.

Among other notable names on the list are the incumbent Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada.

Other former governors on the list include Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who is currently the Senate’s Minority Leader; Jonah Jang of Plateau State, currently serving as Senator representing Plateau North; Ali Modu Sherriff of Borno State, who recently had a controversial stint as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party; and Chief Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

Also listed are the names of Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan; and some ministers who served under the Jonathan administration.

Apart from Okonjo-Iweala, former ministers on the list include the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN); a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed; ex-Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, who is currently the Senator representing Anambra North; and a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

Alison-Madueke’s husband’s name, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (retd.), was also listed.

Also sighted on the list are the names of two men who simultaneously served as media aides to Jonathan – ex-Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, and a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe.

Other prominent high-profile persons on the list are a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko; a former acting Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus; Col. Bello Fadile (retd.), who served under the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; the incoming Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati; and Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was recently retired compulsorily by the National Judicial Council.

The EFCC stated in the document that it was investigating the CJN based on intelligence referred to it on October 12, 2016. The document indicated that the commission was investigating Okonjo-Iweala based on a petition referred to it on January 28, 2016.

For Fayose’s case, the commission said it received a petition against the governor on August 13, 2016, but the investigation had been stalled due to alleged lack of cooperation from the Ekiti State Government officials.

The commission stated similarly that the case against Akpabio was referred to it on May 10, 2016, but had been stalled due to an injunction granted by a High Court of Akwa Ibom State stopping the probe.

It stated that although the Court of Appeal had set aside the injunction, the Akwa Ibom State Government had proceeded on an appeal to challenge the judgment of the Appeal Court.

Apart from stating that Fayemi’s case was under investigation and giving the name of the person who referred it to the commission, it did not state the date the case was referred.

It stated that the cases against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his predecessor, Capt. Idris Wada was referred to the EFCC on September 29, 2016, and April 16, 2016, respectively.

The case against Patience Jonathan alongside Ariwabu Aruera Reachout Foundation was said to have been referred to the commission on September 26, 2016, while that of Oduah was on April 5, 2016.

The case against Sherriff was said to have been informed by an intelligence report referred to the commission on October 10, 2016.

The commission stated that Diezani’s case was referred to it on June 20, 2016, while it received that of her husband on January 14, 2016.

It stated that investigation into Orubebe’s case, referred to it in 2013, had been stalled due to lack of cooperation from the Ministry of Niger Delta.

The case involving Justice Tsamiya was said to have been referred to the commission on October 17, 2016, while the case file of Justice Kafarati was said to be with the commission’s acting chairman.

The document indicated that the cases against Abati and Okupe were referred to the commission sometime in December 2015.

The file of the former Customs boss, Dikko, was said to have been referred to the EFCC on February 20, 2017.

In his reaction on Tuesday, Fayose’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the state government would not cooperate with the EFCC until it started acting responsibly.

Olayinka stated, “The EFCC should start acting responsibly in the interest of the nation and stop being a willing tool in the hands of the All Progressives Congress.

“We have written several petitions against former governor Kayode Fayemi, now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, which the commission fails to act on.

“The state government will not cooperate with the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu until it starts behaving responsibly.”

When contacted, Fayemi, who spoke through his media aide, Yinka Oyebode, said, “I am not aware of any probe by the EFCC.”

On his part, Okupe said he had appeared before the EFCC to answer some questions on a particular issue.

Though he refused to mention the issue, he said it was not a crime for one to be investigated by a government agency.

The former presidential spokesman added, “I have appeared before the EFCC before on an issue the commission was investigating and I have given them sufficient explanation.

“I have not been condemned or convicted. Investigating politically-exposed persons is normal. So, I don’t see the list as something we should bother ourselves with.”

Akpabio could not be reached for his reaction. When contacted, his media aide, Mr Anietie Ekong, said, “My boss is still out of the country and I cannot comment on this matter.”

Attempts to get Okonjo-Iweala on Tuesday were unsuccessful as calls to his media Adviser, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu did not connect while a text message sent to him had yet to be answered as of the time of filing this report.

In his reaction, the Director-General on Media and Publicity to the Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said he was not aware of the investigation.

He said, “Governor Yahaya Bello is a staunch advocate of a corrupt-free Nigeria and will welcome any genuine drive at combating or preventing corruption.

Having said that, I think it is premature and prejudice to comment on a mystery investigation.

“Governor Bello is an incorrigible and incorruptible Nigerian who had been doing legitimate business before his foray into politics.”

Abati neither responded to telephone calls nor text messages sent to his two phones.

The lawyer to Mrs Patience Jonathan, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had accused the EFCC of persecuting his client.

Adedipe said the former first lady had sued the EFCC for harassment and he was sure of victory.

The spokesperson for the CJN, Awassam Bassey, could not be reached through his telephone on Tuesday.

Story by: Olusola Fabiyi, Everest Amaefule, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Eniola Akinkuotu, Leke Baiyewu, Ifeanyi Onuba and Ade Adesomoju.    (Punchng.com)

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In Over Two Years Buhari Hasn’t Locked Up A Single Corrupt Cabal |The Republican News

 

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President Muhammadu Buhari

EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu lamented last Wednesday that Nigeria was losing the war on corruption. It was an honest deposition.

 

Over two years after being sworn in, despite much talk and relentless over pouring of public support and encouragement, the Buhari-Osinbajo government has failed to lock up a single corrupt politician or their businessmen cronies. Not one. The closest Buhari came to locking someone up was with former Adamawa state governor Ngilari, but he was soon acquitted of all charges.

They say corruption is fighting back. If this is a war then corruption has won. And if this was England, the Prime minister would have resigned. But alas, it is not. It is Nigeria and we must trudge on.

I’ll list ten notable failures of the Buhari government in tackling corruption and cases where this administration in itself appears to be fighting back on behalf of corruption.

  1. The Buhari government has adamantly refused to release names of looters who have refunded parts of their stash in return for a secret amnesty of sorts. In spite of a court order compelling the Buhari government to do so, it has persistently defended these corrupt cabal by concealing their identities.
  2. While the Obasanjo government as criticized as it was, was quite successful in locking up dozens on charges of corruption, including Inspector General’s of the Police, and even state governors by first impeaching them and then incarcerating them, the Buhari government appears to lack even a fragment of such capabilities or interests.

  3. One of the reasons that have been attributed to the Buhari-Osinbajo government’s failures in fighting the corrupt is its open partiality. The Judiciary is not persuaded to fulfill its obligations when it sees that all you need to do is switch to the ruling party to be protected from probe. The examples are too many to mention. Allegations that Buhari removed the names of Dambazau and Buratai from an army probe report, did not help matters.

  4. The cases of SGF Babachir Lawal the “grasscutter” and NIA boss Ayodele Oke are perhaps two highly prominent and globally noticed examples of Buhari and Osinbajo’s shamelessness in protecting the corrupt. Buhari has so far shielded these accused individuals from EFCC investigation and punishment for almost a year and continues to. This is a most serious blow to the supposed war against corruption.

  5. As I have repeatedly mentioned, Buhari cannot and will never prosecute former NSA Dasuki outside of the media conviction. For the two plus years Buhari has been in office, he has kept Dasuki in an unprecedented state of limbo: locked in house arrest and never brought to court. The case continues to be adjourned indefinitely. An alleged illegal deal negotiated by the Dangotes, Abdulsalamis and Kukahs which granted Amnesty to Goodluck Jonathan is believed to be part of the reason Buhari cannot try Dasuki. Dasuki cannot go down without taking Jonathan with him. And then perhaps Buhari does not wish to prosecute a son of the Sokoto caliphate, regardless of tens of thousands of Nigerians that supposedly died due to his gravid corruption.

  6. The games Buhari played on the Halliburton corruption case involving APC party sponsor Atiku Abubakar and cabals Obasanjo, IBB, Abdulsalami and the like, leave little doubt that while tens of thousands of Nigerians are locked up for petty theft, the cabal will go scot free under Buhari. When he was heading to USA, under pressure, Buhari announced the re-opening of the Halliburton case. Upon his return he shut it once again. There is no clearer example of his posture against corruption: the cabal are guaranteed immunity.

  7. The whistleblower program has been destroyed. Firstly, the protection of Ayodele Oke and his wife implicated in the over $43 million stash found in an Ikoyi apartment, discouraged whistle blowers. Secondly cases where money was found but the culprits concealed by the Buhari government, have weakened public trust and hope in the program. The case of N49 million found at the Kaduna airport comes to mind. Thirdly, the EFCC in August conceded that due to the “embarrassment” of misses, it was now reluctant to follow up on blown leads. The program is almost dead.

  8. The FOREX subsidy scam, where cabal received emoluments of billions of dollars from the Buhari government in subsidized FOREX is a major dent on the Buhari government. Reuters reported that PDP and APC sponsor Aliko Dangote received as much as $100 million dollars gift from Buhari in just three months. Extrapolated, the effect of the FOREX subsidy scam rivals the fuel subsidy scam of the previous administration. Former Central bank governor and now Emir, Sanusi II lamented that Buhari and his Apex bank governor Godwin Emefiele were making brand new billionaires daily, by running the scam. Not the posture of a government serious against corruption.

  9. The refusal of the Buhari government to as much as look at the Panama papers which indicted people like senate president Bukola Saraki and business mogul Aliko Dangote among others, makes it hard to say Buhari is serious about fighting corruption.

  10. The ignored cases of Rep member Jubril, Honorable Kopa and Senator Hamma, all openly hounded for exposing suspected cases of corruption in the establishment is a serious dash of the hope in Buhari of fighting corruption. The Buhari-Osinbajo government has not given any support or even faintly resonated with these whistleblowers. Buhari simply turns away, disinterested in investigating the allegations and netting those implicated if guilty. Once you are a government official or power cabal, Buhari will not disturb you, it seems.

In conclusion, perhaps Buhari’s infirmity has left him politically vulnerable and hence afraid to touch the corrupt cabal whose cooperation and support he solicits to retain his office in spite of his being absent form Nigeria for large swaths of time. But for whatever reason, be it by sickness or preference, Nigeria has lost its hope of defeating corruption and seeing the corrupt punished for stealing the future of its citizens.

The starving country must wait till 2019 to fulfil the need to lock up the wicked thieves who have brazenly looted its common wealth and sentenced the masses to pain and death by poverty.

(Dr. PerryBrimah.com#CabalMustGo revolution)

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APC, Others Angry As PDP Says Buhari Government Destroyed EFCC |RN

Image result for okoi obono obla
Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla

John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu and Ade Adesomoju

The Peoples Democratic Party, on Thursday, accused the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government of destroying the independence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.

The PDP said the EFCC and ICPC were created during its 16-year reign to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

The party said this in a statement by its Head of Publicity Department, Mrs Chinwe Nnorom.

But the APC, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla; and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), berated the PDP for saying that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration destroyed the independence of the anti-graft agencies.

The statement said the PDP, which was established on August 31, 1998, had remained the only viable, prosperous and most visionary political party in Nigeria.

The PDP statement by Nnorom stated, “(The) PDP administration established two major anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

“These efforts reduced corrupt practices and further increased the confidence of foreign investors that resulted in huge investment inflows into the country.

“The APC-led government of today has destroyed the independence of these agencies with their selective approach of using ‘deodorants’ when APC members are involved and ‘insecticides’ when it concerns the PDP members and other Nigerians.”

The statement said the PDP, therefore, remained the best political party in Nigeria.

It, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to return the former ruling party to power in 2019, saying it had learnt from its past mistakes.

The PDP stated that the chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, congratulated members and supporters of the former ruling party on the achievement.

“As s a human organisation, there might have been some issues or areas we could not cover when we were governing. We promise to make amends as and when given the opportunity again in 2019,” the statement added.

The former ruling party believes Nigerians have not forgotten the enormous infrastructural developments, policies and programmes developed by it in contrast to the current APC-led government.

It added, “The PDP no doubt, initiated several reforms that transformed the country from the decay of long years of military dictatorship/failed civilian administration and never resorted to self- pity, blame and propaganda as it’s seen today.

“For the record, in 1999 the image of Nigeria internationally was in a deplorable state with very poor human rights records. The PDP took conscious steps to change that perception and within a very short period, it restored the country to its pride of place among the comity of nations. We promise to do it again come 2019.”

It recalled how former President Olusegun Obasanjo “worked diligently with other western powers to settle all our foreign debts accumulated by the military, thereby detaching Nigeria’s economy from the burden.

The PDP noted that Nigeria’s unity remained the core principle of the founding fathers, saying throughout the 16 years of the PDP government, the party took deliberate actions to sustain and maintain this principle by building bridges across the nation.

This, it said, could not be said of the APC-led administration given its alleged lopsided appointments, which it argued had aggravated the agitations for self-determination and secession by some sections of the country.

The PDP, however, declared that the party would not support such agitations.

Disprove allegations of recovered loot, ruling party tells PDP

But, the APC challenged the PDP to first disprove allegations of billions of naira and other foreign currencies recovered from members of the former ruling party by the EFCC.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday.

Abdullahi stated, “Instead of saying our party has destroyed EFCC’s independence, they should contradict the billions of naira, dollars and pounds recovered from its members who held positions of authority in the past. It is when they provide evidence that this is not true that we can talk.

“If they want to lay any claim to moral superiority, they should refute evidence adduced by the EFCC about the recovery so far made, then, we can talk.

“Let them challenge the verdict of a competent court of our land which recently ordered the permanent forfeiture of property and billions of naira in cash belonging to Diezani Alison- Madueke (former minister of petroleum resources).

“If they can successfully challenge all these, then, they can speak. As for them returning to power, Nigerians are now wiser.”

PDP statement reckless, irresponsible –Junaid Mohammed

Speaking in a similar vein, a Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr Junaid Mohammed, described the PDP statement as “reckless and irresponsible and lacking any empirical evidence.”

He noted that even though it was evident that the EFCC could do better with better attention and support from Buhari, the anti-graft body had not lost any serious thing under this government to justify the PDP’s gloating.

Mohammed added, “The PDP ought to shut up and spare Nigerians. I don’t believe that the EFCC has lost anything under this administration. When the EFCC started, frankly speaking, both Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde had their challenges. President Obasanjo was in the habit of conniving with them to achieve his aims.

“This is not to say that the attitude and the management of the economy between the EFCC and the current administration is what it ought to be.

“Sometimes, you have to give political direction to some of these agencies. And of course, you have to assure them that you will be with them should they get into trouble; that has not been the attitude of the Buhari Presidency.”

Claim is nonsensical, says Presidential aide

Also, Obono-Obla, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, described the PDP’s claim as “nonsensical”.

He said contrary to the opposition party’s claim, the EFCC had become more efficient under the current administration.

He argued that the independence of the EFCC was completely eroded under the PDP government to the extent that the anti-corruption agency was unable to charge any politically-exposed person under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Obono-Obla described the PDP government as “chronically and scandalously corrupt” to the extent that “a minister was able to steal the equivalent of the allocation of 19 northern states in four years.”

He explained that neither Buhari nor those connected to the President interfered with the activities of the anti-graft agencies.

The President’s aide added that the APC-led government had charged “very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons” with various offences.

Obono-Obla added, “The claim by PDP is nonsensical. It is hogwash and balderdash.

“The PDP does not have any argument because since the APC government came on board, the EFCC has become so efficient.

“In the first quarter of this year, the EFCC secured more than 200 convictions and recovered over N400bn.

“How much was recovered by the EFCC when the PDP was in government or when Goodluck Jonathan was in office?

“The independence of the EFCC was completely eroded to the extent that no politically-exposed person was charged to court. But we can see that they have charged very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons, which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

“So, the PDP does not know what it’s talking about.

“Talk about the ICPC, it has recovered billions of naira. The ICPC has also secured the conviction of many politically-exposed persons.

“The PDP should shut up. The PDP was chronically and scandalously corrupt to the extent that one minister stole the equivalent of the allocations of 19 northern states in four years.

“Up to $20bn was unaccounted for. The foreign reserves were deflated. The late President (Umaru) Yar’Adua left $48bn in the foreign reserves; all the money was deflated.

“So what is the PDP talking about? We don’t interfere, the President does not interfere and the people connected to the President do not interfere with EFCC’s activities, unlike when the agency ceased to function under the PDP government.”

Diezani is your legacy, Sagay tells opposition party

On his part, Sagay asked the PDP to mark its 19th anniversary with sober reflection instead of boasting about its “achievements.”

Sagay told the former ruling party to remember that embattled Alison-Madueke was one of its products.

The senior advocate said this during an interview with The PUNCHon Thursday.

Sagay admitted that the EFCC and the ICPC were created by Obasanjo but added that these two agencies were weakened after Obasanjo left office.

He said the Buhari administration had recovered nearly a trillion naira alone this year from officials who served under the PDP.

The PACAC chairman asked the PDP to apologise to Nigerians and turn a new leaf as this was the only way to regain the confidence of Nigerians.

Sagay added, “I am disappointed in the PDP. If they are celebrating 19 years, they should celebrate with caution and give the nation an assurance that they would not bring such negative impact on our nation again and they have turned a new leaf.

“Yes, President Obasanjo was the one who proposed the establishment of the EFCC and the ICPC? After Nuhu Ribadu left the EFCC, what became of the EFCC? These people just neutralised these agencies and turned this country into an ATM from which they kept on withdrawing money until there was nothing left.

“So, they destroyed our economy; their greed was overwhelming. If you look at Diezani for instance, there is no day that goes by that money is not recovered from her. In Thursday’s papers, it was reported that the EFCC had recovered about half a trillion naira from these people.”

PDP can only talk of impunity

–CACOL

In a similar vein, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders said the only legacy the PDP could talk about was the promotion of criminality and impunity.

The Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said although the PDP created the EFCC and the ICPC, the party frustrated the war against corruption.     (Punchng.com)

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