By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – NATIONAL Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has urged Nigerians who see merit in the war that President Buhari-led administration was waging against corruption, not to be distracted by the ploy of some people he described as “agents of corruption” to discredit the war.
The APC chairman, while reacting to alleged concocted interview in a national daily (not Vanguard) by a legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay, yesterday, insisted that sane Nigerians must continue to support the efforts of the president to rid the country of corruption.
While describing the the alleged concocted interview as the “height of callous insensitivity”, the APC chairman accused those, who he noted, had looted the country blind, as sponsors of the interview.
The alleged interview, which the elder statesman was quoted as saying the current government’s fight against corrupt was merely a cosmetic one, has gained prominence in the media.
He has since distanced himself from the interview, insisting that it was concocted.
But Oyegun said it was the handiwork of those who soiled their hands in corruption during the immediate past federal administration.
“In response to the ‘concocted’ interview published in Nigerian Tribune (Sunday, December 20, 2015) and attributed to respected legal scholar, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN where he reportedly dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts as “selective” and “cosmetic” and further accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s members of corruption amongst others, we are mindful of the axiom: “When you fight corruption, it fights back”, the statement read.
He added :”For the record, Mr. Sagay, a professor of law, well known constitutional lawyer and head of President Buhari’s advisory committee on anti-corruption, says the newspaper’s interview credited to him is concocted and represents a desperate attempt to discredit President Buhari’s anti-corruption war. He challenged the reporter and paper’s editors to provide the public with a tape recording of the so-called interview.
“President Buhari in his May 29 inaugural speech declared, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, that position remains unchanged. The syndicated and sponsored campaign suggesting a “selective” and “cosmetic” anti-corruption fight by the present administration should be seen as a plot meant to distract the citizenry from the successful ongoing war to catch looters and recover Nigeria’s stolen common wealth.
“On sweeping allegations made by the sponsors of the concocted interview that members of the APC are corrupt, the burden of proof is on the sponsors.
“Nigerians and the international community are still reeling in shock over the looting and diversion of public funds meant to purchase badly needed arms and ammunition for Nigeria’s Armed Forces to fight insurgents and protecting the country’s territorial integrity.
“The President’s assurance that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be encouraged to publish details of voluntary return of looted funds to the Federal Government’s coffers is evidently causing panic in the camp of looters.
“Whether by planted media reports, interviews or whatever form of syndicated proxy campaign, the looters of our common wealth do not have the luxury of dictating how the present administration carries out its legitimate duty of catching looters, as long as it conforms with the rule of law.
“The looted arms purchase funds could have saved the lives of innocent Nigerians, particularly ill-equipped soldiers who became easy preys to insurgents.
“Indeed, corruption is fighting back but the will of Nigerians and the noble efforts of the present administration will prevail. “