The Presidency, has lamented that a frustrated Nigerian elite are the ones fighting back against the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this in a statement late Monday night, waving aside allegations that the anti-graft war is selective and targeted only at the opposition.
According to the presidential spokesperson, “A number of Nigeria’s elite, uncomfortable with the disruption of business as usual, have fought viciously, usually via the media”.
He was responding to scratching criticisms from a former military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar, Col. Umar (retd) who had in a statement over the weekend, flayed the Presidency for ignoring court orders to release erstwhile NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).
He further said the Buhari administration had in its actions sought to humiliate former President Goodluck Jonathan who he, Umar, praised for his excellent democracy credentials.
However, Garba said such a statement, coming from Colonel Umar, is highly disappointing; because he is not in a position to label accusations, and that he should instead, allow others to do this.
According to him, the Buhari administration had become accustomed to a fight back by the elite class, none of whom, he said had shown evidence of the selectiveness of the fight against corruption.
President Buhari, he said, had not at any time interfered with the prosecution of corruption suspects, even as he said several of those fighting back had at one time or the other benefited from security votes from the office of the National Security Adviser, but was quick to exclude Col. Umar from such beneficiaries.
The statement read in part: “By now, President Buhari’s administration is quite familiar with the barrage of verbal attacks that have accompanied the administration’s determined war against corruption.
“A number of Nigeria’s elite, uncomfortable with the disruption of business as usual, have fought viciously, usually via the media.
However, this comment, coming from Colonel Umar, is highly disappointing, because he is not in a position to label accusations. He should, instead, allow others to do this.
“Curiously, despite the various accusations and media attacks, no one has so far come forth with any evidence of President Buhari’s selectiveness in the war against corruption.
“All the agencies involved are allowed freedom to carry out their responsibilities, without any interference whatsoever from the Presidency.
“If Colonel Umar or anyone else feels that they have any evidence to the contrary, they are encouraged to make this public.
“A number of Nigerian elite have over the years, benefitted from various forms of corruption, including monthly payouts from the office of previous National Security Advisers.
“Let me clarify that this is not in reference to Colonel Umar in particular.
“The Buhari’s administration has offended so many of our greedy elite by putting a stop to this, plugging many of the holes through which our country’s resources, belonging to each and every one of us, were looted by a few.
“Naturally, these elite are frustrated. But we shall not allow them to frustrate the war against corruption.
“The war against corruption is here to stay. As long as President Buhari is in power, Nigerians can be rest assured of that. It will not succumb to media attacks. It will not be deterred by false accusations. It will not be quenched by disgruntled elements”, Garba asserted.