A coalition of civil society organisations has said the convictions of former governors of Plateau and Abia states, senators Joshua Dariye and Orji Uzor Kalu, were indications that President Buhari’s Buhari’s anti-corruption fight was not selective.
Also, the group said contrary to claims in some quarters that the president was using the anti-graft fight to pursue perceived political opponents, more members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, had been convicted than people from the opposition political folds.
Addressing a media conference, Monday, in Abuja, on her annual review of the fight against corruption in the country, the coalition under the aegis of Accountability and Good Governance initiative, AGGI, while noting that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had since “secured 313 convictions in 2018 and 160 by first quarter of 2019″, called for the resubmission of the name of the EFCC’s acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to the Senate for confirmation in substantive capacity.
National Coordinator of the group, Jacob Okpanachi, speaking at the media conference, insisted that the convictions of notable bigwigs in the ruling party in recent time had faulted the arguments in some quarters that the corruption war was being waged only on perceived opponents of the administration.
He said: “Notable bigwigs including prominent former governors and politicians across party lines have been given their respective sabbatical in the various prisons facilities now christened correctional centres across the country.
“It has become glaringly clear that there is no hiding place for corruption and there can never be sacred cows no matter whose ox is gored,” he said, adding that: “As it stands, corrupt practices can no longer be indulged in with the impunity of the old order as direly grave consequences await anyone who dips his hands in the mire of financial crimes.”
A prepared text read to newsmen at the event, read in part: “As partners in the fight against corruption we wish to commend the Nigeria media and other vertical and horizontal agents of accountability who have been in the pursuit of ending corruption in Nigeria.
“The major focus of this press conference is to X-ray the anti-corruption war by economic and Financial Crimes Commission as led by Ibrahim Magu in the last four years in consonance with the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari government to crush corruption and profligate waste from our governance system.
“It is imperative to, therefore, let the world know that from close observation by our group and several other objective Civil Society Groups, we have discovered that the current Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has performed commendably well and deserves support from all Nigerians for a successful fight against this hydra-headed scourge “Corruption”.
“There are empirical figures to attest to the chairman’s giant strides which has given much bite to the government’s anti-corruption war.
“Our scrupulous scrutiny further revealed other achievements to include the accelerated effort by the Ibrahim Magu leadership which resulted in the timely completion of the EFCC permanent office complex for ease of administration.
” Staff training has been intensified to ensure that operatives are up to date on emerging trends in financial crimes and foolproof strategies for combating same; furthermore the Commission has entered into both local and international partnerships to ensure that there is no hiding place for corruption as the eagle eye now sees even beyond our shores; most importantly, an internal self-check mechanism has been emplaced to ensure that the highest standards of transparency and professionalism prevail at the Commission.
“Today the EFCC can hold her head high amongst her peers anywhere in the world and the pride of Nigerians is being restored gradually on the plinth of this frontal war against corruption.
“It is, however, unsettling and patriotically disturbing that some pro-corruption elements in our society are moving seriously against the confirmation of the Chairman and are hell-bent on his removal which we view as an attempt to frustrate the smooth running of the ongoing war against corruption and ultimately frustrate the good intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari at moving the Nigerian nation and her good people to the Next Level.
“This is a classic and significant attestation to the common parlance of corruption fighting back. We must however not allow these fiendish evil elements to prevail at the detriment of our collective forward voyage as a nation.
“It is the light of this that we want as civil society organisations to make it emphatically clear that we shall resist any move to draw this struggle against corruption backwards.
“All corrupt or pro-corruption institutions, individuals, elements, entities or cabals should come to terms with the reality of resolved stand by all Nigerians that for corruption enough is enough.
“We, therefore, use this medium to endorse and pass vote confidence on the chairman of EFCC Ibrahim Magu and assure him of the support from the civil society which remains one of the horizontal agents of accountability.”