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APC, PDP give Buhari nod to go after looters

President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to fight corruption got a major boost yesterday.
His party – the All Progressives Congress (APC)  – and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had a rare agreement – that Buhari should go after corruption suspects.
But the PDP cautioned him “not to victimise innocent citizens”.
Some prominent citizens have been arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Others are being investigated.
To the APC, the investigation of those who plundered the nation’s commonwealth and prosecution is necessary to remind future officials that “holding a public office is a call to service”.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC noted that the unfolding revelations, especially in the oil sector, were too serious to be ignored by a forward-looking administration like Buhari’s.

The statement reads: “Some people have insinuated that the Buhari Administration should ignore the massive looting of our patrimony and move on. We say no responsible government can afford to do that, because it will amount to endorsing corruption and impunity.”
“In the oil sector alone, billions of dollars have been skimmed off by pathologically-corrupt public officials,” the party said, wondering how the government can meet its obligations to the citizens if it refuses to recover the huge funds stolen by officials.
The APC went on: “It is an irony that those who are suggesting that the Buhari administration should turn a blind eye to the incomprehensible looting are the same ones accusing the government of not doing anything.
“It is even a cruel irony that the same party that presided over what is fast emerging as the worst governance in the history of our country is the same one that is daily bad-mouthing an Administration that is cleaning up its mess.
“Even if all the acts of corruption that were perpetrated during the tenure of the last administration are limited to what is now in the public domain, it is still absolutely exigent for the Buhari Administration to do all it can to bring the perpetrators to book and recover the looted funds.
“Where does one start from? Is it the fact that the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) failed to remit N3.8 trillion to the Federation Account or the mind-blowing stealing of 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day?
“Is it the fact that the NNPC itself does not know how many bank accounts it had or into which ones the payments for Nigerian crude are made? Could anyone have imagined that a government minister would steal the unprecedentedly huge amount of $6 billion of public funds as being alleged?
“How does any sane person rationalise the fact that one billion dollars was unilaterally and illegally withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account just because, as the immediate past minister of Finance has disclosed, the President ordered the withdrawal? What about the billions of naira waivers recklessly approved to dubious importers by the Jonathan administration?
“Is it not clear now that the stealing and the profligacy – more than anything else, including the fall in oil price – helped to drastically reduce the monthly allocation from the Federation Account from about N800 billion to about N400 billion, thus pauperising the states and the local governments and, by extension, the citizenry?
“Against the background of the stunning revelations, what message will any government be sending to its citizens and indeed the global community by looking the other way, when it could still recover some of the looted funds for the benefit of the people? This is why we are supporting the Buhari administration’s probe decision, and calling on all Nigerians to support ongoing efforts to get to the root of the matter.”
The ruling party noted that the refusal of the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration to pass its handover note to the then president-in-waiting was deliberate.
“The Jonathan administration cleverly delayed giving the then incoming Buhari government the handover note so as to avoid being asked critical questions pertaining to the unprecedented looting under its watch,” the party said.

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