Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revd (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah, and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, moments ago were engaged in verbal exchange over the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare his assets publicly.
The venue of the verbal war was the public presentation and launch of the book: ‘Farida Waziri: One Step Ahead – Life as a Spy, Detective and Anti-Graft Czar’ written by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri.
Kukah who was represented by Revd Fr Patrick Alumuku of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja as the guest speaker, had while concluding his speech, said: “On a final note, let me ask two or three questions that I have heard being asked. First, is it in the law that the chairman of EFCC must be from the police force and a Muslim from Northern Nigeria? Two, people have asked, how is it that the president used Justice Onnoghen’s asset declaration form to prove his corruption and proceeded to sack him, yet the president himself has not publicly declared his own assets as he promised during his campaigns? Thirdly, why has Mr. Magu not been confirmed as EFCC chairman and what is the state of the trial of those who attempted to kill him in December 2017?”
But mounting the podium, Adesina who was the book reviewer told Kukah to produce evidence where President Muhammadu Buhari promised to publicly declare his asset if elected as president.
“I remember I was appointed on May 31, 2015, and when I resumed work on June,1 2015, in a private meeting with the president, one of the first questions I asked him was, this promise about the public declaration of asset, when are you doing it?
“And then he asked me, can you please show me where that promise was ever made? And low and behold, we searched everywhere, there was no place where the president ever said he will do a public declaration and he told me what does the law require; the law requires you to declare your asset and that is what I will do. Yet, since that year, they keep repeating that he promised a public declaration.
“Sir can you tell Bishop Kukah that I challenge him to produce that promise by the president because the president stands by it till tomorrow that he never promised a public declaration.
“In 2015, he made his asset public, in 2019, he had declared, he has chosen not to go public, he has not broken any law. So, please let’s not continue to repeat what is untrue,” Adesina fired.