By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
As the world community marks 2019 World Anti-Corruption Day today 9th December, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has saluted President Muhammadu Buhari. The group’s message came through a press statement issued on Monday, 9th December, 2019 by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
MURIC said, “We salute the architect of modern Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. He has emerged as the undisputable hero of the war against corruption and the indisputable champion of transparency campaign on the African continent.
“Nigeria would have been swallowed long ago by the corruption monster had it not been for the doggedness of this relentless fighter. Nigeria had become a pariah nation until Buhari came to the rescue. Transparency International ranked Nigeria the world’s most corrupt nation in 2001, second most corrupt country in 2003 and third most corrupt in 2004.
“We continued to wobble and tumble until the emergence of this president who dedicated his life to prudence, austerity and high level discipline to the extent that African leaders, nay, the world as a whole, turned round to recognize his immense contributions to keeping Nigeria on the track of transparency, probity and accountability. Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which sat at 16% under Obasanjo is now at 27%, signaling greater success in the war against graft.
“In the same vein, we pay tribute to his foot soldier, Ibrahim Magu and his gallant men in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Equally worthy of accolades is Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer head of the commission who put the team’s feet firmly on the path of dedication to the war against financial crimes.
“A plethora of proofs of the success of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war has emerged. As recently as May 2019, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, revealed that the sum of N605 billion has been realized through whistle blowing. More than $320 million has been returned by Switzerland as part of the alleged $2 billion Abacha loots. EFCC wins laurels daily as the courts forfeit humongous sums of money and properties to the Federal Government (FG).
“The elimination of ghost workers has saved Nigeria more than N200 billion while the Treasury Single Account (TSA) swelled FG’s account to a whopping N10 trillion as at July 2019. Expectedly, the TSA policy led to the closure of more than 20,000 accounts. The thieves are feeling the pressure. The icing on the cake is the current massive investment in infrastructure and various economic empowerment programmes embarked upon by FG.
“At least four ex-governors have been jailed for corruption under Buhari and we are still counting. They include James Bala Ngilari of Adamawa State who was sentenced to 5 years in 2017; Jolly Nyame of Taraba who bagged 14 years in 2018; Joshua Dariye of Plateau who also received a 14 year sentence in 2018 and Orji Uzor Kalu who got 12 years last week (December 2019). All these prove that Buhari is on the right course and FG is winning the war against graft. Kleptomaniacs are frightened out of their wits. They know it is no longer business as usual. Stealing with impunity has taken flight.
The human rights outfit solicited for cooperation from both the judiciary, the civil service and the National Assembly (NASS).
“We in MURIC laud the courage of a few judges who have stood up to be counted in the anti-graft war. We solicit for more support from the judiciary in general. We also urge the civil service to give all necessary support to the war against corruption.
“In particular, we call on the National Assembly (NASS) to waste no time in enacting a bill on special courts to try corrupt public officers. This is not the time to sit on the fence. Our message to the honourable members of the NASS is simple: if you don’t do it now because you are comfortable and your children are enjoying, the children of the poor whom you neglect today will return with a fury to make life unbearable for your children.