By Simon Ateba/Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari vowed on Sunday night that top government officials accused of corruption in his own administration would be punished if found culpable.
Mr. Buhari instructed the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against top officials in his own government.
“The attention of the presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration,” said Mr. Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu.
“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing. If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution,” he added.
Among top government officials accused of corruption is the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who failed a Senate confirmation on Thursday after the country’s secret police said he had enriched himself while pretending to fight corruption. (See Report)
Also accused of corruption is the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. Lawal Babachir, who was said to have enriched himself at the expense of Boko Haram victims.
The Senate on Wednesday called for his immediate sack, alleging in an adhoc committee report that Mr. Buhari’s appointee diverted hundreds of millions of naira meant for displaced Boko Haram victims in the Northeast.
Mr. Babachir swiftly rejected those allegations calling them nonsense. But loud calls to investigate both men and sack them continued.
On Sunday night, Mr. Buhari broke his silence and ordered an investigation.
There have been many other allegations against Mr. Buhari’s appointees that seem to have been overlooked.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, was accused of buying choice property in Dubai with money meant to fight Boko Haram.
Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, accused of corruption
The matter did not seem to have been fully investigated while President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, a lawyer who graduated from the universities of Warwick in 1980 and Cambridge in 1983, was also involved in a corruption scandal.
Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Buhari
Mr. Buhari pleaded with Nigerians in 2015 to elect him into office to “kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria”.
But so far, that fight seems to have mainly been targeted at opposition members or appointees of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
For his own loyalists, the anti-graft agency has been slow, sometimes ignoring petitions against his own ministers.
The governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayo Fayose, has written several petitions alleging that Mr. Buhari’s Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, wrecked Ekiti with massive theft when he was governor there. But those allegations have not been investigated.
With Mr. Buhari turning against his own men, with the fight against corruption finally start? Will the fast approaching 2019 elections incapacitates him?