Restricting Probe To Jonathan’s Administration In Order, Says CACOL | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Restricting Probe To Jonathan’s Administration In Order, Says CACOL

Posted: Jul 25, 2015 at 1:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Its Impunity – HURIWA

By Ignatius Okorocha –  Abuja


Civil society organisations Friday differed on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration resolve to probe the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. 

President Buhari had before his inauguration said that he would probe the activities of the Jonathan-led government especially the activities of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which had been accused of maintaining multiple bank accounts and of not remitting all the revenue accruing from the sale of crude oil into the federation account.

President Buhari had also said he would restrict his probe to the immediate past administration as probing all the past administrations before his would amount to distraction which, at the end of the day, would have left the very core of governance unattended to.

Former President Jonathan had also said on the eve of his leaving office that limiting the probe to his administration would be a witch-hunting exercise. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supported a probe of past administrations but insisted that the probe should not be limited to only the immediate past president.

However, while the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), a civil society organisation committed to fighting corruption in governance said it was a welcome development, a pro-Democracy organization on the aegis of -Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) described the decision to restrict the probe to the administration of Jonathan as selective, unfair and amounts to impunity. It insisted that investigation should be broadened to include all successive Federal administrations since 1979 till May 29th 2015.

In a statement issued in Lagos, (CACOL) said that restricting the probe to Jonathan’s administration was in order. It said that calling for the extension of the probe to other past administrations was self-defeatist, self-condemning and an obvious product of a guilty conscience.
The Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran said that those calling for an all encompassing probe was being hunted by their past and that it was “like the case of a drowning man looking for others to drag along”.

He said that since President Buhari had just taken over directly from Jonathan, “all facts, whether documented, oral or circumstantial, would be more easily accessible than having to begin to dissipate energy into digging into the far past which would no doubt be so time-consuming that little or no time at all would be left for actual governance, all through his tenure.”

Adeniran urged President Buhari to disregard the complaints against his decision to probe the Jonathan administration “and concentrate on pursuing his anti-corruption crusade with all his vigour and ensuring that the thieves of our common wealth are exposed and punished.”

He said that “the generality of Nigerians, having identified the monster called corruption as the arch-enemy that has overtime being warring against the progress of this nation, are impatiently waiting for President Buhari to wrestle it to submission.”

But reacting in Abuja in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said that the laws of natural justice and morality were all against any governmental policy that would be targeted at a selected group of persons to the exclusions of all others particularly when public corruption and graft reportedly pervaded public and political spaces during the military regimes of General Ibrahim Babangida and late General Sani Abacha.

The statement said in part, “Corruption indeed became a general theme of debates as far back as 1983 when some politicians abused import licences and waivers to import rice and even the national chairman of the then ruling party-National party of Nigeria (NPN) was accused of large scale insider abuses which included the importing of customised champagnes for his birthday bashes.”

HURIWA said that from the regime of late General Sani Abacha, public funds that amounted to several billions of dollars had disappeared into public offshore bank accounts and were only recovered at the return to civilian rule in 1999.

The Rights group stated that the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was accused of allegedly diverting substantial percentages of the repatriated stolen funds to private accounts.

“If any sound, deliberate, articulate, forensic, all -inclusive,  dispassionate  and unbiased investigations of graft and alleged heist of public funds by government officials is to be conducted then this government should commence the probe from the Genesis of corruption in Nigeria and not focus exclusively on the immediate past administration of President Jonathan.

“Any investigations that are not all inclusive is nothing but selective and politically motivated and therefore renders any expected outcomes null, void and vindictive,” it said and urged the Buhari government to adopt a comprehensive and broad based  nonpartisan approaches and anti -graft strategies as well as “fundamentally change the hierarchies of the anti- graft agencies of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for efficiency and effectiveness if the anti corruption war to be won.
“The current leaderships of the anti graft bodies are compromised, corrupt and ineffective and must be changed and replaced with independent -minded experts that will wage an all out anti corruption war devoid of partisanship and eye service as is currently obtained. You can’t fight impunity with impunity”, HURIWA said.