THE President Muhammadu Buhari is going to limit his current probe of government officials to the immediate past government of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The Presidency disclosed this on Thursday, July 23, that there were trails of monumental fraud everywhere that would be too difficult for the administration to ignore. It, however, said that it would be a distraction to go beyond the Jonathan regime.
Before leaving the United States after his four-day official visit on Wednesday, July 22, President Buhari had vowed, to arrest and prosecute former ministers and government officials who looted funds and stole Nigeria’s crude oil. The president alleged that the suspected officials stashed the looted funds in foreign bank accounts.
Speaking on the government’s decision, Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said in an interview that the probe was in order. Adesina said: “It is a simple thing. Before he was inaugurated, the president said that it would be a distraction for him to start digging deep into past governments. He said so. I don’t see anything new. But it will be irresponsible of any government to leave things of the immediate past that are glaring and evident and not do anything about it. It is not a witch-hunt. You have evidence and they are glaring. A responsible government should do something about it. It is not about the former president. It is about how they acquitted themselves in the responsibility they were given. When you are given a public responsibility, you are responsible to the people.”
Nevertheless, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it was not against President Buhari’s decision to single out the past administration of President Jonathan for probe. Olisa Metuh, national publicity secretary of the party, stated this on Thursday in Lokoja, Kogi State, during the conduct of the state’s delegates’ congress of the party. He said the probe was actually in line with the PDP’s stand against corruption.
Metuh said: “Corruption is not only a crime against President Muhammed Buhari, nor is it a crime against the All Progressive Congress. Corruption is against the interest of mankind and it’s against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If President Buhari singled out the past administration and PDP members for probe, so be it… Only the guilty will be afraid.”
However, before leaving office, Jonathan had said any probe by the Buhari government would be seen as a “witch-hunt” if it fails to go beyond his administration.
— Aug 3, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT