Thursday, 27 December 2018


[FILES] Cross-section of traders waiting to be captured at the flag-off of TraderMoni empowerment programme at Ojuwoye market, Mushin, Lagos.<br />PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

• Atiku knocks Buhari’s anti-corruption fight
• Focus on how to win votes, APC tell ex-VP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged diversion of N4 billion of the Tradermoni and the Farmers Anchor Borrower schemes to fund President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection campaigns.

It also urged the EFCC to open investigation into the alleged looting of the repatriated $322 million (about N115 billion) by the Buhari Presidency, under the cover of distributing the money to the poor.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday, the PDP stated that the EFCC should also commence the prosecution of all those reportedly indicted by the House of Representatives, alongside Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, for alleged diversion of N33 billion meant for food and other welfare items for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East.

The PDP said the investigation into the alleged looting, as well as the recovery of the stolen funds from the coffers of the Buhari Presidential Campaign must not be carried over into the coming year.

“It is rather despicable, after looting over N14 trillion in unremitted oil revenue, the presidency cabal and the APC leaders are also hiding under the plight of innocent Nigerians to further siphon funds for their selfish ambitions.

“Our party holds that President Buhari is being very unfair to Nigerians in asking them to get ready for more suffering in the coming year when trillions of naira meant for their wellbeing have been siphoned and stashed away in his campaign coffers, where APC leaders also fritter funds to finance their wasteful life styles.”

The opposition party asked the EFCC to note that “Nigerians are already aware that agents of the presidency and the APC are involved in N1.2 billion round-tripping of public funds under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, for which they named a non-existent Anchor Borrowers Farmers’ Association as donors, in a bid to legitimize their siphoning of funds from public coffers to fund President Buhari’s campaign.”

According to the party “Nigerians are also in the know that agents of the Presidency, under the watch of Vice President Osinbajo, are being used to divert huge part of the budgeted sum for the Tradermoni scheme while handing out paltry sums to unsuspecting beneficiaries, who are further fleeced through 10 percent kickbacks by APC agents.

“On the repatriated N115 billion, we charge the EFCC to make public, its findings on allegation that 90 percent of the estimated 300,000 households listed as beneficiaries are phony family names supplied by fraudulent government officials, as conduit to channel the repatriated money to APC leaders and the presidency cabal.

PDP said President Buhari had completely failed his integrity test and no longer has the moral standing to expect votes from the same persons stolen from to finance his re-election bid.

Also yesterday, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, linked President Buhari’s failure to effectively fight corruption to lack of political will.

He said the President had deliberately closed his eyes to corrupt officials in his administration, while focusing on those culpable in the opposition parties.

Atiku was reacting to Buhari’s statement during a visit to the president by members of the Federal Capital Territory Community in which he blamed his inability to fight corruption on the Nigerian system.

Buhari had said his administration was slow in fighting corruption because the system was slow.

But Atiku, in a statement yesterday, argued that Buhari has corroborated Transparency International (TI), whose latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) showed that Nigeria is more corrupt than it was under the previous administration.

The country fell 12 points backwards in the CPI from 136 in 2014 to 148 this year.

His words: “Mr. President, the problem with your anti-corruption war is not the system. You are the problem. The system allows you to arrest, try and convict your former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was fingered in a major corruption case.

“Rather you chose to let him go scot-free and you demonstrated your tolerance for corruption by giving him a prominent role in your re-election campaign and recently welcomed him to the Presidential Villa with open arms.

“The system allows you to arrest, try and convict Abdulrasheed Maina, the biggest ever alleged thief in our civil service history, who allegedly looted the pensions of millions of aged Nigerians. Yet, you preferred to recall him, reinstate and double promote him, while giving him armed guards to move about.

“The system allows you to probe the $25 billion NNPC contracts awarded without due process, but you chose to sweep the matter under the carpet, hoping that Nigerians will forget about that grand scale alleged looting exposed by a leaked memo from a member of your cabinet.

“Finally, nothing in the system stops you from telling Nigerians who owns the billions found in an Ikoyi apartment. Based on the above facts, I will not allow you to make Nigeria the scapegoat of your failure. Your failure is personal, and not national. If you could go abroad to insult Nigerian youths as lazy, why did you go to Paris to praise a governor who was caught red-handed receiving bribes on camera?”

In its reaction, the APC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onillu, said the conduct by Atiku spoke volume that he was exhibiting early signs of depression, resulting from obvious frustration.

APC urged Atiku to preoccupy himself with the task of how to win the votes of Nigerians than to discredit the person of president Buhari.

“He should tell Nigerians why a discredited person like him should be elected as President instead of raising puerile allegations on a daily basis.

“Nigerians are desirous of campaign that focuses on issues that matter to them. For Atiku and his PDP co-travellers, the only interest is to grab power and continue where they stopped in their avarice. The APC administration is eager to showcase the impressive achievements we have recorded in the last three and half years.

“This is the campaign that matters to us and this is what Nigerians are interested in. The trajectory is exciting as we see a brighter future shaping up. We won’t yield to the PDP’s shenanigans. The obvious strategy of the PDP is to truncate the country’s journey towards economic buoyancy and social stability. We will not play the PDP’s game. PDP is acting an anti-people’s script,” the ruling party said.

According to the statement, Buhari remains unshaken by the desperate efforts being made by Atiku and the PDP to blackmail the APC government.

“Everyone who was involved in corrupt practices would be brought to justice. PDP is not offering any alternative to the progressive course this government is pursuing. It is actually apparent that the party is not contesting the 2019 elections to redeem itself, least of doing any good for the country, but simply to seize power to escape justice for the grievous crimes committed against the people of this country. Nigerians won’t be fooled by the rapacious PDP gang. Never.”

Source: Guardian Newspaper

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