Anti-corruption war: Northern group writes Buhari, accuses him of biasBy Caleb AyansinaABUJA – A group of Northerners under the auspices of Arewa Peace Coalition has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of bias in the ongoing anti-corruption war.The group, in an open letter to the president titled: “A tale of two anti-corruption war” and signed by its National Cordinator, Abdulkadir Mohammed, in Abuja, said it was worried about the way the anti-corruption war is being fought by the Federal Government.
Mohammed accused the federal government of double standard by referring the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachar Lawal, to an administrative panel for investigation.
According to him, the suspended SGF should have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as the federal government did to a personal physician of former president Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Fiberesima, who is being accused of N285 million fraud.
He added that as Buhari’s kinsmen, its hope in the anti-corruption war of the president was gradually fading away.
The letter reads: “We wish to at this stage bring to your attention, a critical observation which we consider as a renege on your promise in fighting corruption; which you promised that “there will be no sacred cows”. This we describe as a tale of two ANTI CORRUPTION WAR.
“However, a critical comparison is the case of your suspended secretary to federal government (SGF) and the personal physician to the former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is a case where the SGF was indicted by a Senate committee for a grass cutting scam worth two hundred and twenty million Naira (N220m). And the later Mr Fiberesima, is also being accused of fraud worth two hundred and eighty five million Naira (N285m).
“Firstly, the Senate committee however recommend to the presidency for the removal of the SGF based on its finding which indicted him. But Nigerians watched for months without any action from the presidency not until recently when another administrative panel was set up to be headed by the vice president with the Attorney General of the federation included , whom had initially cleared the SGF of any wrong doing .
“The question Nigerians are asking is “why subject the SGF to an administrative panel and not subjecting him to EFCC, DSS or Police”? And what are we expecting from a committee which has the Attorney General of the federation as a member who had earlier cleared the SGF? These are questions putting a doubt on your credibility in fighting corruption sir.
“Secondly, the perception in the public domain, is that your war on corruption is only targeted at your political foes, Goodluck Jonathan and members of the previous administration. The case of Goodluck Jonathan’s personal physician, may want to prove this point. In this case Mr Fiberesima is being tried by the EFCC for an alleged fraud of two hundred and eighty five million Naira. Our concern here is that, why not use the same rules across board to prove to Nigerians that you are not out to witch hunt the former President Goodluck Jonathan and members of the previous administration.
“It was this observation, that prompted Senator shehu Sani to allege that “the President Buhari uses deodorant to fight corruption in the presidency” while colonel Abubakar Umar on the other hand, recently accused the presidency of only trying to vilify former President Goodluck Jonathan in the name of fighting corruption.
“In this tale, the difference between these two men in the persons of the SGF on one hand and Mr Fiberesima on the other hand , is that (1) the SGF is a Northerner while Mr Fiberesima is a southerner (2) the SGF is in the present administration and a close political ally to President Muhammadu Buhari, while Mr Fiberesima is a personal physician to the former President Goodluck Jonathan and a member of the previous administration.
“Against this background, and as your kinsmen sir, we are worried about all these because we feel your administration is gradually derailing. We really want you to maintain that popularity and acceptance which brought you to power and not to be seen as a sectional leader who promotes nepotism as it is also being alleged in your political appointments that you are favourable to only northern Nigeria.
“As a generation behind yours, we will also want to be treated fairly by other parts of the federation the day power leaves the North. Because it is still fresh in our memories on how former President Goodluck Jonathan was very generous to us in the North with both political appointments and infrastructural developments because of his belief and love for all regions in Nigeria, which we also want you to emulate by treating other regions as such.
“Finally sir, we know it’s not too late to correct some of these mistakes and to redeem your promise to Nigerians because we still believe in your ability to deliver on your promises. As a progressive Northern based organisation, we are willing to support and partner with you to succeed.
“We will however, advice you not to compromise National interest for a few selfish persons around you who may be in your Government only to further their personal interest and also using your platform to fight their personal battles, embedded in the fight against corruption.”