Anti-graft War Not Targeted at Opposition, FG Insists

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  • Igini wants govt to tackle economic problems

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The federal government has said the current fight against corruption was not targeted at the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as being peddled in some quarters.

This is as a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Edo State, Mr. Mike Igini, called on the federal government to tackle the economic problems facing the country while fighting corruption.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said as far as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was concerned, there was no sacred cow in the anti-graft campaign.

Malami, who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at the ongoing 56th annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with the theme ‘Democracy and Economic Development,’ said the federal government would not spare anybody suspected to be corrupt.

The minister pointed out that the fight against corruption was not targeted at any particular political party, adding that nobody would be spared if found to be corrupt.

He stated that for anybody to be investigated and arrested, there must be a reasonable ground for suspicion of the commission of an offence bothering on corruption.

The AGF said: “On the issue of being lopsided in the fight against corruption, I think the question should be that is there any reasonable ground for suspicion of the commission of an offence. It is not about whether they (offenders) are PDP or APC.

“As lawyers, you have at your disposal the Freedom of Information Act and the right to seek support for the prosecution of those suspected to have committed any offence.”

Malami also disclosed that the government was investigating some top civil servants suspected to be involved in corrupt practices.

He pointed out plans were underway for the amendment of the Electoral Act and added that a committee would soon be established to achieve the purpose.

Meanwhile, a former Edo State, REC, Mr. Mike Igini, has lamented the level of poverty in the country, and urged the federal government to tackle the economic problems facing the country while fighting corruption.

Explaining that those elected into public office have only a year and five months to fulfill their promises to the electorate, Igini maintained that it will be difficult for elected office holders to achieve anything at the end of 2017.

According to him, “The belief and faith in democracy is on what it can achieve. All those elected into public offices have only one year, five months to perform. The truth is that 2018 is a campaign year while 2019 is for elections.

“So, they have till 2017 to fulfill their electoral promises. Consequently, looking at what is available, one should look at the law and see how we can tackle our economic problems while also fighting corruption.”

In his remarks, a human right activist, Mr. Ken Asuwete, called on the federal government to address cases of human right abuses in the country.

Asuwete explained that the change mantra of the federal government should not be limited to only the recovery of stolen funds, adding that other area should be explored for government to fulfill its electoral promises to the people.