… Challenges Minister of Finance To Respond To Forgery Allegations or resign
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to make the regime’s war against Corruption more transparent in order to promote its credibility amongst Nigerians.
Its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, noted that the latest campaign being waged against the Anti-Corruption war of this government is the book written by the duo of former United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, and an American Intelligence Community Expert, Mathew Page, in their book entitled, ‘Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know’, which was recently released. Nigeria was described as a kleptocracy of ethno-religious and political robber elites with a claim to democracy.
“While CACOL shares in the claim of the authors that ‘official and unofficial corruption undermines the democratic trajectory and threatens overwhelming it, thus serving as a major hindrance to the country’s economic and socio-political development’ it is our belief that more than any of the country’s previous administrations, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has shown more resolve to confront the menace of corruption in our national life.
“It is quite instructive that these foreign authors narrated what is already known by majority of Nigerians about their country which is that corruption has remained embedded within the country’s ruling elite since the return to democracy in Nigeria. It is also worthy of note that although both authors acknowledged that President Buhari seems to be doing all within his powers to combat the menace of corruption, the monster still rears its ugly head within same ruling class. This is not far-fetched from CACOL’s long-term position that the presence of certain elements that seem to espouse corruption in this government could actually become a destabilizing factor.
“We also demand that the present administration addresses the allegation that illicit oil contracts worth $25b was awarded by the Management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without adhering to due process.
“As much as the government’s efforts at tackling corruption may not have been as profound as majority of Nigerians would want it to be, it is a far cry from the experience we had in the recent past. It is therefore incumbent on the current administration to also do an in-house cleansing with regard to cases like the Maina-gate, Babachir Lawal’s grass cutting scandal and Kemi Adeosun’s still unfolding National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharge certificate scandal. This would go a long way in relieving Buhari’s government of the moral burden that may become its albatross”, Adeniran said
Similarly, the group has called on the Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun to respond to the allegations of certificate forgery leveled against her or resign.
Adeniran while expressing the views of the Centre opined that; “What should not be encouraged, under any guise, is a reign of impunity as the country steers towards consolidation of its democratic culture.This scandal in which Mrs Adeosun is presently enmeshed is a vindication of CACOL’s position taken as far back as 2015 that she was not morally upright to hold public office based on her past.
“We recollect that this scandal- which was first broken by PremiumTimesOnline Newspaper–had resulted in the Finance Minister becoming vulnerable to blackmail from members of the National Assembly. She was reported to have approved fictitious budget heads on several occasions and actually authorized the disbursement of huge sums of money that were not approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly. If this is found to be true, it is not only criminal, but a clear violation of fiscal discipline and accountability.
“The nation is presently facing a lot of challenges which require the present administration’s undivided attention-ranging from Fulani herdsmen-farmers crisis to banditry, social dislocation and economic crunch and cannot therefore afford to be bogged down by any distractions or controversy arising from the recklessness of any public official”, he said.
“Our current situation as a nation demands that public officers serving the current government should be seen to be above board in implementing the administration’s Change agenda. Public officers are also compulsorily required to demonstrate transparency, responsibility and accountability in steering the ship of state”, he added
It is in this regard that the center, therefore, call on President Buhari to immediately wade into this matter by suspending Mrs. Kemi Adeosun from her position as the Minister of Finance in order to allow full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the forgery allegation and misappropriation of funds under her Ministry.
This it said was necessary to reinforce public confidence and send a clear signal that no criminal conduct would be tolerated by this government.