Graft: YUF backs suspension of SGF, NIA boss

Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), an umbrella body of all Yoruba organizations, has described the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari by suspending the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachair Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Ayo Oke, as a right step.

Rising from its executive meeting, on Wednesday, held at the Ikenne home of the Awolowos, the vice-chairman of the organisation, Archibishop Ayo Ladigbolu, said the move by Mr President, would bring hope to Nigerians on the commitment of the administration in its war against corruption.

In attendance at the meeting were Senators Femi Okurounmu, Anthony Adefuye, Dr Kunle Olajide, the co-chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola  Bucknor-Akerele, Mr Tokunbo Ajasin, Princess Adebisi Sangodoyin among others.

The meeting submitted that their suspension would allow for thorough investigations into allegations of corruption leveled against them, commending the President for taking the bold step.

He said, “This is a government that is committed to transparency and to honesty and a government that has made as one of its pillars the fight against corruption. I believe this is a decision in the right direction.

“It is a breath of fresh air for Nigerians and of course suspension means suspension which creates room for thorough investigation. We will await the outcome of the investigations but certainly I believe what the President has done is what a leader committed to fighting corruption should do, we commend him.”

The organisation urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be more factual and sincere in its primary responsibility of fighting corruption, than engaging in media trial, saying that people outside Nigeria would see the anti-graft agency as being more sensational than serious.

It canvassed for more thorough investigation and prosecution in its approach in war against corruption that might lead to conviction or otherwise than taking Nigerians as fools.

YUF said, “We deliberated on a number of issues relating to the Yoruba nation and to Nigeria. We deliberated on the state of the nation. In the first place, we considered the issue of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the current handling of the anti-corruption war. We are all interested in the anti-corruption war, YUF supports the war and certainly our members all over the country are doing their best to demonstrate their support in as much practical times as possible.

“We want to urge the EFCC to be more factual and sincere, and less sensational because if more of our trials are done by the press or in the press, and we keep losing cases in the court, then people we begin all over the world to see us as being more sensational than serious.

“Our number one appeal is to the EFCC to take its responsibility more seriously and they should not treat Nigerians as fools. We want to see more thorough investigation and more thorough prosecution. We know that these may not all lead to convictions, but Nigerians we see that we have exhausted all that needed be exhausted, in terms of the law and what the law says and so on.

We believe that approach to the war against corruption will benefit all Nigerians and we helped the image of our government, the Federal Government that we know is sincerely committed to this war.”

The organisation further advocated for the return of traditional values in terms of transparency, honesty, hardwork among others in the war against corruption, urging parents, religious, community leaders and traditional institutions to imbibe the values for a better society.

YUF maintained its endorsement of all the resolutions of the 2014 National Conference, and advised the Federal Government to ignore anyone opposing its implementation.

It said, “As Nigerians, and as particularly the Yoruba Unity Forum, 100 percent endorsed all the unanimous resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and so we stand against any group, anybody from anywhere, who may now be claiming that having signed the Conference resolutions with all other Nigerians, that it should not be implemented because they are from a certain part of Nigeria because the President is from a certain part of Nigeria.

“We strongly opposed to that kind of move and we urged the government to ignore anybody who may be standing for that kind of idea.”