“The Immìgration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement… It is not a political witch-hunt”
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has rebuffed insinuations that the EO6 is targeted at the opposition.
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It also explained that the cases of most of those affected by the travel ban started before the present administration.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the high profile cases have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight.
He explained further that the essence of the Executive Order 6 was to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases.
The access to the resources by the suspects had enabled them to be in a position to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial.
“In the history of independent Nigeria, this is the first time any government is taking such a key decision to fight corruption.
“EO6 is not only revolutionary to the efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption but a manifestation of systemic changes that are required to to make necessary adjustments as we carry on with the war against corruption.
“The very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases.
“These high profile cases we are talking about have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight. These cases were mostly originated by administrations other than this one.
“What is clear is that the access to these resources by the suspects has enabled them to be in a position to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial. In most of the cases, the courts are held in a helpless position by legal acrobatics paid for from corrupt enrichment by the suspects.
“The new measures put in place should compel everyone involved to make for a speedy conclusion of these cases. If it is your money, you have it back. If it belongs to the public, it goes back to the treasury,” the presidential spokesman said.
On the list of names being reported, Shehu said: “I want to confirm to you that we have not issued any list and we are not doing so.
“These cases are well known and to say this or that name is on it will open the door to further accusations, including trial by media.
“The Immìgration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement and they will do so giving due respects to individual rights, in line with the the constitution.
“It is not a political witch hunt and it is not for politics.”
He argued that the question of the constitutionality of the Executive Order was answered by the fact that a court has given government a clean sheet.
“One of the cardinal objectives of the government under our constitution is to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is a responsibility and obligation upon the government,” he said.