Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has accused the federal government of paying lip service to the fight against corruption, accusing the President Muhammad Buhari-led administration of politicising the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The governor accused the government at the centre of not doing enough to build institution to fight corruption.
Tambuwal stated this at the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the 2019 United Nations development framework and launching of Spotlight Initiative, held at the Council Chamber, Sokoto Government House.
“When I was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I accused the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, who was a member of my party of supporting corruption. That was when he granted former Bayelsa State governor, late Diprieye Alaimesiagha, who was accused of corruption, state pardon.
“Now it is a public knowledge in Nigeria today, the moment you align yourself with a particular party today, you are immune to the fight against corruption.
“We cannot get the fight against corruption right, especially when the agencies that are saddled with the task of fighting corruption are at the beckon of the federal government. If the government doesn’t like your face, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to run after you. “We are very much aware, once you joined a particular party; you are immune from being prosecuted by the EFCC or ICPC. That is not the way to go.
“There is a need to stop politicising the fight against corruption but take it head on, otherwise we won’t go anywhere.
“We knew what happened here during the election, when EFCC was all over the place, arresting people anyhow, identified for the EFCC officials by their political masters with the belief that people are buying votes.
“We know the political actors here who used EFCC as part of their campaign to come and intimidate people in Sokoto State. The earlier we realise that we are not doing it right, the better for our institutions..
“That’s why during my tenure as the Speaker, I spoke about it and I still want to assure you now that I am ready to support the constitutional amendments that will make our institutions stronger.
“There is need to separate the office of the Minister of Justice from the Attorney General of the Federation. The Minister can be a politician while the Attorney General of the Federation should be above board and not a politician.
“We also need to separate the Office of the Accountant General and that of the Chief Accountant of the Federation.
“We must go back to the constitution and do the right thing, if not or unless, we may not get it right,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, who represented UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, expressed concern over a disturbing trend concerning Nigeria’s explosive demographic growth which is put at an estimated rate of 3.2 per cent while the economy is growing at 2.1 per cent.
He also expressed concern over the country’s multi-dimensional poverty and increase in inequality, impact of climatic change and competition with natural resources, pervasive corruption, insecurity and women’s empowerment.
Kallon briefed Tambuwal on the UN reforms in the areas of prevention, peace and security, good governance, improving management and accountability.