Protesters in their hundreds stormed the National Assembly on Wednesday to express their displeasure over what they considered as “selective witch-hunt” of alleged looters of the national treasury by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The protesters who came under the aegis of Nigerians United for Progressive Change (NUPC), a non-governmental organisation, said the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration was targeted at some persons considered as enemies, while those close to the seat of power are being exonerated from prosecution.
The president was also faulted on the constitution of the Prof. Itse Sagay committee which is investigating the activities of the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan especially the handling of resources by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
The group said more worrisome and exerting was the fact that the government has used “this politically motivated anti-corruption crusade as a ruse and smokescreen to distract Nigerians from the grinding pains exerted on our collective psyche by the rapidly dwindling and ailing economy under this administration.”
Addressing journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday at the gate of the National Assembly, Comrade Solomon Adodo, National Convener of NUPC, said the fight against corruption has become “highly sensational, jaundiced, and thoroughly compromised due to the overbearing political undertones and motives”, stressing that “the Federal Government has chosen to be preoccupied with blaming the past administration for our woes instead of generating solutions as promised to Nigerians during the campaign for change.”
Adodo said: “At best the fight against corruption can aptly be described as a political witch-hunt and desperate attempt to muffle the voice of opposition political parties and any voice of dissent or constructive criticism.
“We are also aware that individuals who had their neck steeped in the labyrinth of corruption were given a clean bill and compensated with juicy appointments in this administration since they identified with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“No better testament can be adduced to the selective and ill-motivated fight against corruption than the recent resignation of a true patriot and man of honour, Yushau Shuaib as FOSSRA Chief Media Consultant, due to the fact that the anti-corruption war unjustly paints any perceived enemy with tar,” he said.
Adodo explained that only the National Assembly is constitutionally vested with the statutory powers to investigate any government, noting that the presidential committee investigating the immediate past government is illegal.
The group therefore called on the National Assembly to rise up in correcting the executive “from further progressing in error on the shoddy and ill-motivated anti-corruption fight” adding that “the Prof. Itse Sagay Committee is alien to our law in the manner it operates, as it cannot usurp the constitutionally spelt out roles of the anti-graft agencies and the judiciary.”
It said the anti-corruption crusade should be conducted with a human face, and in the best national interest of protecting our democracy.
The group also faulted the president for embarking on various overseas trips saying that “the President should sit at home and face the economic challenges of unemployment, and poverty using our areas of comparative advantage”
“It is also imperative that the National Assembly should wake the Executive to the stern realisation that our economy is groaning and the masses are subjected to binding hardships on a daily basis due to the compounded neglect of this government,” he said.