Corruption: Beam your searchlight on past administrations, Buhari urged

Anti-corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), on Thursday, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his searchlight on the activities of officials of past administrations without blinking or consideration of any political affiliation as the fight against corruption takes front burner in the schedule of his second term in office.

Its Executive Secretary, Chief Dennis Aghanya made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.

He, therefore, commended the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami for his stance that the judgement by Justice Butcher of the British Commercial Court ruling for Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), an Irish-owned firm to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets must be set aside because the consequences of allowing the implementation of such judgement would be disastrous for the country’s economy.

He was of the opinion that Nigeria should be smart enough and have a plan B, by not depending totally on the outcome of the intended appeal to challenge the judgement.

Nigerian government, according to him, should rather commence an out of court negotiation with P&ID by negotiating for an alternative contract to compensate them so that they can recoup their money for the said judgement in about a year or two without the economy feeling the impact. 

Chief Aghanya said no court in Europe or America would be sympathetic to Nigeria over the matter, considering the bad image of corruption the country suffers in recent time overseas. 

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“To them, this is an opportunity long-awaited.

“But to serve a deterrent to government officials in the country, the Attorney-General should liaise with the EFCC to commence probe and prosecution of officials of the past administration who structured the contract with P&ID and failed to take corrective measures when it became obvious that the contract was not working. 

“It is heart-breaking to read Omokri, a former aide to President Jonathan attributing the failure of the Nigerian government to act promptly and avert this development to failure of leadership by Buhari’s administration. At what point should we as concerned citizens separate politics from leadership so that we can build an ideal society for ourselves? The administration that initiated the contract should have guided it to a logical conclusion if it was well-intended in the first place.

“The narrative by Omokri that President Jonathan sent Diezani, Okonjo Iweala and some other guys to Ireland to negotiate an out of court settlement with P&ID which resulted in P&ID agreeing to take $850million instead of $6billion early 2015 is not enough to excuse to exonerate the administration of its carelessness that has dragged into this mess.

“When would government officials in this country realise that the interest of the country as a whole should come first in all official negotiations before any individual. It has become a norm for persons in positions of authority, either as civil servants or political appointees to see public offices as a means of amassing wealth rather than rendering service for public interest.

“In Republic of China, economic sabotage attracts death penalty and we are approaching that level of stiff penalty in this country if steps are not taken to correct this trend.” He stated.

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