THE PRESIDENT’S WORDS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO PROVE THE INNOCENCE OF HIS CABINET MEMBERS’ INCULPABILITY IN CORRUPTION – CACOL

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity has told Nigerians bluntly, to put a halt on accusing and finger-pointing his Ministers and other top government officials of corruption without evidence, and that Nigerians should ignore orchestrated attempts to discredit them as recently reported widely by the media.

The Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, in his reaction to the President’s statement found the position curious and contradictory to the anti-corruption principle of the present regime. He asked “how certain is the President that some of his appointed Ministers are not just incompetent but are also corrupt?”

According to the anti-corruption Crusader, “the President’s defence contradicts all the petitions sent by CACOL and other civil society organizations (CSO) to the anti-corruption agencies and the President regarding corruption issues which indicted some of the Cabinet members. It also contradicts the anti-corruption war his administration appears to be fighting so vigorously. The President’s take sounded more like ‘touch not my anointed’ as a matter of fact!”

Continuing he said “with the atmosphere the anti-corruption drive of the present regime is trying to create, it would be expected that common sense and knowledge should ordinarily make public officials, particularly politically appointed public officials to conform to basic standards and best practices; that is accountability and transparency in public administration rather than opt for the ‘prove it’ option whenever the searchlight of anti-corruption is beamed on them.”

“The President’s take rather than kill the suspicions of the majority has only exacerbated them. When the first line of defense an indicted, suspected or accused person or group tows, is the line of ‘provide proof/evidence’ without attempting to smash the allegations via transparency and accountability beyond reasonable doubts which is an easier and less labourious option, then ‘aspersions’ and ‘conspiracy theories’ will continue to fly.”  

The CACOL Leader added that the President’s position is throwing up the old question of whom the onus of proof should lie upon between an accused and an accuser. “But in spite of our recognizing that there may be frivolous accusations which could be the basis for the President’s opinion, we still feel every accusation should be treated as ‘possible truth’ until it’s 100% proved to be baseless. There can be no half-measures if we desire to kill corruption in our country, Nigerians can no longer take the words of public officials as credible given the past and present experiences they have been and still being made to sadly go through.”

“Consequently, we believe the onus of proof should lie on the accused particularly where it concerns public officials like Ministers. We advise that the President should not to vouch for any public official as he is not competent to do so. Even the President came to a realization that frustrated him to admit publicly that the Judiciary sector is a headache in the anti-corruption war and predicated his claim on corrupt tendencies in the sector! Added to this is that the President has had to relieve some public officials of their positions based on suspected or actual sharp practices.”

“It is therefore uncalled for and contradictory for the President to ‘blanketly’ award the badge of inculpability in corrupt practices on his Cabinet members. Accused public officials should lawfully clear themselves of allegations that are not true. And knowing that within the ambit of our laws, there are provisions for punitive for persons who make frivolous allegations should be enough to not wield extra-constitutional powers to gag Nigerians.” Adeniran averred

In concluding, the CACOL Leader said “to win the war against corruption will require us, as individuals and as a country not to spare the rod, so as not to spoil the child. Corruption cannot be killed with kid’s glove. It is a situation where conscious eternal vigilance must be kept all the time without letting down the guard regardless of who is involved. The law after all says every accused person is deemed to be innocent until proven judicially to be guilty, so suspects or accused persons need not to get jittery given that they are protected by the law as long as they are proven to be innocent. Let there be transparency and accountability in governance, which is what will enlist the trust and confidence of the people.”

 

 

Wale Salami

Media Coordinator, CACOL

08141121208

wale@thehumanitycentre.org

cacolc@yahoo.com,cacol@thehumanitycentre.org

July 22, 2016 

 

 

For more press releases and statements, please visit our website at

www.corruptionwatchng.com, www.cwatch.thehumanitycentre.org

 

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