Political appointees with established corruption cases should step aside – NLC tasks Buhari

Political appointees with established corruption cases should step aside – NLC tasks Buhari

 The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday urged President Muhamadu Buhari to ensure that all political appointees who have established corruption cases against them should step down in the bid to deepen the ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

The NLC’s General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Ezon, who gave the charge while reacting to the recent suspension slammed on three Presidential appointees namely: Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Ayo Oke, Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Ozo-Ezon said, “Once there are allegations of corruption and there are prima facie cases established while such investigation is going on, the normal practice is that people step aside, either they are suspended or they remove themselves from the process. 

“So, we do not think that processes should be based on individuals by looking at the face of individuals, it should be based on what is proper and correct process. So, as a general rule, we believe that where people have been accused of illegality and there were some prima facie evidence established, through a process of investigation, they should step aside or be suspended. 

“But we need to emphasis however, just as somebody gets up and accuses another person, it is not always sufficient in itself because it can also create anarchy. All you have to do is see that the person is accused and you then remove such person. There has to be a reasonable prima facie case established.”

While reacting to the Buhari’s decision to assign Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to chair the investigation, Ozo-Esson, who kicked against the move, accused Presidency of usurping the functions of the Anti-corruption agencies.

“Well, we think that it is something that is positive, there are those who will say that it has taken long particularly the issue of the SGF because these issues have been around. It has taken long to deal with this matter. Well, government has finally decided to suspend them and investigation is going on, it is fine.

“But what we don’t understand is how an administrative committee chaired by the Vice President will be investigating what is an alleged criminal offence. But whatever processes they have chosen to do, what is important is that they need to bring the facts before the nation.

“We need to know that there are no sacred cows and at the end of the day, we hope that justice will be done and citizens will be able to attest that justice has been done,” Ozo-Ezon urged.

In a separate interview, Samson Ugwoke, National President of Senior Staff Academic Nigerian Universities (SSANU), noted that the Anti-corruption agencies should have been allowed to handle the probe.

“Should Buhari be serious with his anti-graft campaign, the presidency should not be investigating the SGF and others. 

“If somebody in the Presidency is accused of corruption, the usual anti-corruption agencies that investigate other ones, should also investigate the SGF. The presidency should not investigate presidency, nobody should be a judge in its own case. 

“It is now they have taken the real action that is supposed to have come a long time. And this controversy over the discovered money in an apartment in Ikoyi Tower, does NIA keep money? What did they keep money for? What is the source of that money? Has that money been declared to be in circulation or out of circulation?  When was that money kept in that place and for what purpose?

“I think they should be fired. Such money cannot be government money and out of circulation and we are looking for money. It is very clear that money is not government money.

“There are a lot of them in government that are involved in one mess or the other, this is becoming too much for the President,” SSANU President noted.

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