Ex-minister wants APC probed
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has called for the establishment of international infrastructure to fight corruption and repatriate assets that are stolen and moved across borders.
The president who spoke on the topic: “Tackling corruption together: A conference for civil society, business and government leaders”, appealed to the global community to declare oil theft international crime similar to blood diamond, saying that the menace put at over 150,000 barrels per day, was a criminal enterprise involving internal and external perpetrators.
“Opaque and murky as these illegal transactions may be, they are certainly traceable and can be acted upon, if all governments show the required political will. This will has been the missing link in the international efforts hitherto. Now in London, we can turn a new page by creating a multi-state and multi-stakeholder partnership to address this menace.
“We, therefore, call on the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in ‘blood diamonds’, as it constitutes an imminent and credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like Nigeria,” he pleaded.
Buhari also described as unfortunate, tedious, time consuming and costly the repatriation of looted funds stashed in different parts of the world, calling for repatriation of funds without conditions.
While admitting that corruption has become a hydra-headed monster and a cankerworm that undermines the fabric of all societies and does not differentiate between developed and developing countries, he nevertheless vowed that his administration in the fight against corruption would continue to ruffle feathers.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, former minister of Economic Planning under former president Goodluck Jonathan accused Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) government of selectively persecuting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) former government officials, “as if they were the ones who invented corruption in Nigeria.”
He alleged that there were also corrupt officials in the Buhari government but were not being haunted like the PDP government officials who served under former president Jonathan.
According to him, the 2015 presidential elections money for which the anti-graft agencies were prosecuting former government officials, were donated by private individuals and corporate organisations and not government money, and wondered why only the opposition members were being probed.
He insisted that APC too spent billions of naira on the presidential elections and queried why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the Police and DSS were not going after their members for prosecution.
“The government of former President Jonathan did not invent corruption in the country. The present government of President Buhari is also full of corrupt officials, no exception. So, if the anti-graft agencies want to do a thorough job, they should go after the individuals and corporate organisations who donated or contributed money towards election campaigns and not the party stalwarts who were only sent to use the money for the election,” he stated.