By Alarape Aliu Abiodun.
In a new Year message to Nigerians made available to BlackBox Nigeria, Director Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Ishaq Akintola, calls on Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his drive to intensify and prioritise the war against corruption if we as a people really want to take our destiny in our own hands.
He noted that so doing is the only way to stop the sufferings of Nigerians, while also calling on Nigerians to speak with one voice regardless of their political, religious or ethnic backgrounds on corruption related issues.
He averred that the country has been robbed silly by the likes of Diezani Alison Madueke who vanished with $20 billion, Patrick Akpolobemi who helped himself to $12 billion from NIMASA coffers, Sambo Dasuki who messed up $2.1 billion arms fund and N40 billion that developed wings and flew into thin air under former customs boss Abdullahi Dikko, the list is endless said the Islamic Cleric.
”Instead of condemning these thieves, some Nigerians started accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of being motivated by vendetta. Some claimed he was only targeting opposition members. Strangely enough, they still remained recalcitrant even after members of the ruling party including a personal friend of the president and a chieftain of the ruling party were arrested for corruption and dealt with.”
”We can imagine what the huge amounts stolen by these shameless kleptomaniacs could have done for the nation. How much do we really need to equip our health facilities with the most sophisticated machines in order to stop unnecessary medical trips abroad? How much do we need to turn the dilapidated death traps which we call roads to macadam standard? Why can’t a Nigerian university be one of the best 10 in the world? Why couldn’t we beat Ghana to celebrate 10 years of uninterrupted power supply?’
”But we are on the right plane with Buhari as our pilot. His doggedness is yielding positive results. Change is already surfacing. Nobody ever asked those thieves any question before Buhari came on board. But now some of them are in jail. Corrupt judges are not being spared. Some of them have started vomiting what they swallowed.”
The Muric Professor while listing the looters who have been mandated to return their loot directly or indirectly to the FG said, ”Jafaru Isa who was accused of stealing N170 million returned N70m just one week ago. He had earlier returned N100 million before he was released from custody. That means he has returned the whole loot. Abdullahi Dikko paid back N1 billion before bail was allowed. Only those who are blinded by partisanship or ethnic jingoism will refuse to accept this as the real change,” he noted.
He applauded the Federal Government stating that, ”No Nigerian government had ever achieved this feat in the past. The Federal Government (FG) also reported the recovery of huge amounts of cash: N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016. Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, which were a combination of cash and assets, during the same period: N126,563,481,095.43, $9,090,243,920.15, £2,484,447.55 and €303,399.17.
”Anticipated repatriation from foreign countries totaled: $321,316,726.1, £6,900,000 and €11,826.11. The non-cash recoveries are – farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels. This feat is what Nigerians should be celebrating instead of holding parties in a state capital to celebrate the release of a thief from a London prison. Corruption has indeed robbed some Nigerians of their norms and values.”
He however cautioned the Islamic preachers who spread hatred among Nigerians on religions basis, ”We must stop sending divisive signals. Muslims are among these shameless thieves. Christians are among them. We have Northerners there just as there are Southerners. So why are we deceiving ourselves? A thief is a thief whether he is a Muslim or a Christian. A thief is a thief whether he is a Yorubaman or Kanuri. Corruption is faith-blind. Poverty knows no tribe. We are all victims of the thieves’ greed and avarice. So why should we allow them to use religion or tribe to blindfold us?”