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Hell For Thieving Officials As Buhari Vows To Get Tougher On Corruption

...EFCC, ICPC Recharged For Anti-Graft War

By Damola Emmanuel

Fresh from his short rest in London, during which he undertook some official assignments, an obviously rejuvenated President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country, last Friday, two days ahead of schedule, giving signs that it may not be business as usual as far as the anti-corruption war was concerned.

Though he did not spell out what the new dimension the war would assume, what was beyond debate, however, is that Nigeria may not continue to be a safe haven for corrupt officials, corrupt politicians and their co-travellers in the corporate world.

Indeed, sources close to the two frontline anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, told The Crest, Saturday, that the two bodies had been re-charged to step up the anti-corruption war “no matter whose ox is gored”.

The president’s new resolve came against the background of the soaring notion that the anti-corruption was either dead, or ineffective, or lopsided.

But one of the sources said Nigerians who doubted the efficacy of the anti-corruption agencies and their methods may soon have a rethink.

“Nigerians will soon see a strategic change in the prosecution of the war against corruption,” the source told The Crest. “They will soon see a more aggressive onslaught against official corruption. They will also see a different president who would be more focussed on leaving enduring legacies at the end of his tour of duty at the Aso Rock Villa. They will see a firmer president, who, while revving the fight against corruption, will also step up his efforts at making life more abundant for the people.”

President Buhari, himself, gave a hint of what he has up his sleeves shortly after touching down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, last Friday, when he told reporters that: “We are going to work harder and be accountable. We have tried to make Nigerians understand why we do certain things. Accountability from bottom to top is absolutely necessary.

“Whoever is responsible for government property, [should know] it is public property, it is not personal and he has to manage it according to the law.

“That’s what I expect and I think that we have been around long enough to impress on people that we mean what we say.”

For the first time, the president also commented directly on the widely reported crack between him and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. In particular, Buhari, at the short airport interaction with State House Correspondents, reacted to the recent sack of 35 aides of the Vice President, frowning at what he called the “ethnic and political dimensions” given to the development.

“We just created some ministries and we reorganized and people are giving it ethnic and political dimensions,” Buhari said. “It is unfortunate.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, doubled down on Buhari’s position, declaring that, “the ongoing re-organisation, which affected some political appointees at the presidency, was aimed at enhancing service delivery to Nigerians.”

Shehu recounted the president’s response to the vexed issue during his brief interaction with State House Correspondents at the Abuja airport: “They said 35 people were sacked in the Vice President’s office. We just created some ministries and we reorganized and people are giving it ethnic and political dimensions. It is unfortunate.”

And on “what would be next for his administration after a well-deserved rest in London, following an official visit to Saudi Arabia,” Shehu quoted the President as saying: “We are going to work harder and be accountable. We have tried to make Nigerians understand why we do certain things. Accountability from bottom to top is absolutely necessary.

“Whoever is responsible for government property, [should know] it is public property, it is not personal and he has to manage it according to the law.

“That’s what I expect and I think that we have been around long enough to impress on people that we mean what we say.”

 

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