Anyone in doubt of President Muhammadu Buhari’s intention to open new frontiers in his anti-corruption crusade should take a second look at the list of individuals declared wanted over the Malabu Oil scandal, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said.
The list, according to the group, shows that the President is not prepared to spare so-called sacred cows in line with his commitment to bringing to book any individual or group that may have committed crimes against the Nigerian people.
BMO said in a statement signed on Friday in Abuja by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that the decision was an unprecedented step that previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations could not mutter the political will to take. .
“When news filtered out from an Abuja High Court sitting in Jabi few days ago that warrants have been issued for the arrest of some powerful Nigerians, including two former ministers, Dan Etete and Mohammed Adoke as well as their alleged international collaborators over the Malabu oil scandal, not a few Nigerians were stunned.
“This is understandable because it is rare in the country for high calibre people like a former Petroleum minister and a former Attorney General to be called by any Nigerian authority to account for their misdeeds in office.
“But this is an administration led by a man that has left no doubt about his intentions to work more in the interest of the people. We at BMO are not surprised at the turn of events in a scandal involving one of Nigeria’s most lucrative oil wells.
“We welcome the development and commend the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for keying in into the President’s zero-tolerance stance on corruption”
The pro-Buhari group also wants President Buhari to ensure that everyone who played any role in the long-drawn scandal have their day in court.
“We expect the EFCC to ensure diligent prosecution of a case that has since spawned international investigations and court hearings in the UK, The Netherlands, and Italy. This is with a view to clearing the air on claims made in an Italian court that former President Goodluck Jonathan was bribed with $200m to ensure that the controversial OPL is handed back to Dan Etete after the Obasanjo administration revoked the licence awarded to his company by the Abacha regime.
“It is against this backdrop that we welcome the order for the arrest of Aliyu Abubakar, the man believed to be the middle man who acted as fronts for top officials of the Jonathan administration.
“This would hopefully ensure that everyone who may have benefitted from the $520m allegedly paid by the Abacha-era petroleum minister answer for their crimes against the people.
“And hopefully it would also send a clear signal to oil majors and corrupt politicians that there is indeed a new ‘Sheriff in town’ who would not tolerate under-the-table deals to the detriment of national interest,” the group said.
BMO also urged Nigerians to resist the temptation of reading political meanings to a case that has a lot of international dimension when the trial eventually opens in July 2019.
“The matter has been a subject of investigation and court hearings in three countries and now that the Nigerian end is about to lead to the trial of high profile people, we hope that some individuals and groups would not seek to make the country a laughing stock of the international community by storming the court premises with placards pronouncing the accused persons as victims of political witch-hunt.
“This is because there is the likelihood that names of more prominent Nigerians would be mentioned, especially as former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke is reported to have said he acted on instructions and that a number of powerful people had foreknowledge of the transaction”