Buhari charges Imams: Take anticorruption fight to mosques

-Says Osbornegate culprits‘ll be sanctioned

By Peter Moses, Abeokuta and Abdullahi M. Gulloma, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Muslim clerics and leaders to support his government’s anticorruption crusade. He urged them to continuously preach against the menace in mosques and other religious gatherings.

Buhari noted that the corruption war could only be won through joint efforts by all Nigerians. He spoke yesterday through his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojodu at the 55th conference of the League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta states.

The President also urged all Muslims to always pray for the country’s survival. The two-day conference, which brought together Imams and Alfas from Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta states, holds at the auditorium of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL). “What is expected of you at this moment is to preach against corruption in your mosques all the time,” Buhari told the gathering, asking all public office holders to always remember that they are holding such offices in trust for God and not for their selfish interest.

The president expressed appreciation to the Imams and Alfas for their continued prayers for him during his medical vacation, and challenged the conference to come out with suggestions that would assist good governance. Ogun state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who declared the conference open, commended the organisers, saying that for the members to be together for 55 years was commendable and worthy of emulation.

To him, the fact that the participants came from different states to deliberate on common purpose was an indication that Islam is a religion of unity. He challenged Muslim leaders to continue propagating Islamic religion, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and love. One of the highlights of the event was the installation of former Minister of Mines and Steel, Chief Safara Tunji Ishola as the Baba Adinni of Yorubaland.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the eminent persons that graced the occasion but did not speak. President -General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, sent representations to the conference.

‘Osborne culprits’ll be sanctioned’

Meanwhile, President Buhari, yesterday in Abuja, said all those found culpable in the Osborne Towers scandal would be made to account and appropriately sanctioned. Receiving a report of the panel established to review the operational, technical and administrative structure of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the president described the discovery of monies in the flat at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, in April this year as an “unfortunate incident which rightly aroused public interest and outcry.”

“All the circumstances surrounding the obtaining, keeping custody and disbursement of the funds, have been examined by the Vice President’s Committee and all those found to be culpable will be made to account and appropriately sanctioned. “However, it must be understood that this cannot be done in a manner that jeopardises national security or exposes the operations of any intelligence agency, which must, by nature be conducted in secrecy.

“Suffice it for me to assure all that justice will be done consistent with our anti-corruption policies,” he said. Commending the Ambassador Babagana Kingibe-panel for completing its assignment expeditiously, the president said their recommendations and that of an earlier committee headed by the Vice President to look into the Osborne matter, would assist government in improving the operations of the NIA and the overall national security architecture.

“Your panel’s recommendation, informed as they are by your collective experience and expertise in this fi eld, should in particular help to reposition the NIA to better perform its vital functions with greater professionalism.

“The Osborne Tower incident and its aftermath has also brought to the fore the need to review the entire national security architecture, which has now been in operation as established 31 years ago. Once again, I thank you very much for undertaking this national assignment,” he said

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