The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), on Sunday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, for his decision to restrict the period covered by the ongoing corruption probe to 2007.
In a statement by its President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, the IYC, said President Buhari’s decision seemed to create the impression that he is shielding his friends and associates from the investigation.
It added that the decision would only portray the President as someone who lacked courage to revisit the big corruption scandals that took place between 1999 and 2007, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled the country.
Eradiri challenged the President to either extend the probe to 1960, when the country became an independent nation, or at best, 1999, when the country returned to democracy after years of military rule, to revisit some of the corruption scandals in the country.
He stressed that a genuine probe should indeed concentrate on the Obasanjo administration, which failed to procure arms and ammunition for the military in spite of huge budgetary allocations to the defence sector.
The IYC leader said the President’s probe would have made more sense if it had included the eight years of the Obasanjo administration rather than announcing the probe of the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
He noted that the Boko Haram insurgency would have been nipped in the bud if the government in power then, had equipped the military to carry out their statutory responsibility of securing the country.
He cautioned that the plan to avoid probing the Obasanjo administration would send out the wrong signal that the probe was designed to protect some of the people, who committed grave economic crimes against the country, which should be of concern to him.
Eradiri added, “We find it pertinent to react to recent media reports that our dear President, Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered a probe of weapon procurement for the military from 2007 to date.
“While we are not against any effort of the President to investigate previous administrations and indeed take steps against the scourge of corruption in the society, we hereby state without equivocation that the period covered by this probe is suspect.
“It would have made a lot of sense for somebody, who is genuinely interested in revisiting alleged cases of malfeasance, which had held our nation back, to either commence such an investigation from 1960 when the country became independent or from 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy after years of military dictatorship.
“We hold that this is unfair and that the tenure of Chief Obasanjo is being exempted because of the role he played in Buhari emergence as President.
“In fact, if there is somebody that should be probed, it should be Chief Obasanjo, who lacked foresight and failed in the critical job to adequately arm our military, in spite of the huge funds appropriated for defence under him. If he had done so, the menace of Boko Haram would have long been dealt with in the early stages. It took the administration of Goodluck Jonathan to buy the weapons we need.”