Updated: March 1, 2021
The conviction and sentencing of a former governor of Abia State and incumbent Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu over a N7.56bn fraud is further proof that the war against corruption is in full swing, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said.
The group also said it showed that being a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is not a shield from prosecution, contrary to what opposition elements had been saying about the ruling party.
In a statement signed by its chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO argued that the conviction of a high ranking APC chieftain proved that the courts are indeed independent in this dispensation.
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” For some time, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its supporters had been casting aspersion on the anti-corruption crusade, especially in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
“The claim then was that all a politician seeking protection from trial needed to do was to join APC. And this was even after two former governors who are also members of the ruling party, had been convicted and sent to jail.
“This speaks to the focus and uncompromising nature of the administration, and if a high ranking Senator is in jail, then clearly a message has been sent out on the rule of law.
“So if there was any doubt about President Muhammadu Buhari’s sincerity, then the fact that a ranking member of his party has been sentenced to a 12-year jail term is proof that such doubts had been unfounded.
“We hope that the judgement delivered by Justice Muhammad Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos would clear all doubts about the seriousness of the anti-graft crusade,” it said.
The group also commended President Buhari for his efforts at ensuring that Nigeria has stronger institutions that can operate independently without interference.
“On his watch, the nation’s anti-graft agencies now have a new lease on life and are exceeding previous records of performance.
“Just like the case of the former governors of Plateau and Taraba States, the trial of Senator Kalu first began in 2007 and had witnessed all sorts of drama, but a stronger Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ensured that the matter was concluded with a conviction.
“If there’s any one that deserves commendation, it is the President that showed he meant business with his repeated assertion that there would be no sacred cows in the war against corruption.
“In times past, the Senator could have qualified for some form of immunity as a result of his closeness to the Presidency, and we dare say that this has shown that this President is different.
“We hope that Nigerians would no longer be regaled with tales of a selective war against graft, especially when judgement day comes for some members of the previous administrations standing trial for sundry corruption charges.”
BMO also expressed hope that more Nigerians would come to appreciate President Buhari as a man that is more interested in stronger institutions and not in shielding any Political Exposed Person (PEP) from trial.