Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer Atiku Abubakar yesterday drew the ire of the President’s campaign spokesman Festus Keyamo (SAN) over his remarks on the Presidency’s handling of the nation’s affairs, especially the anti-corruption war.
According to Keyamo, the former Vice President would not be walking a free man, lest vying for the presidency if not for the faulty system bequeathed to the Buhari administration in 2015.
Keyamo said Atiku’s diatribe against President Buhari amounted to nothing “but a disgusting grandstanding and an attempt to mock the system.”
He said in a statement: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the presidential candidate of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar, disputing the assertion by President Buhari that the system in Nigeria allows corruption to thrive because the system is slow in tackling corruption.
“Alhaji Abubakar further blamed President Buhari for perceived failure in addressing some instances of ‘corrupt practices’ under his watch.
“Let us remind him that he is one of the greatest beneficiaries of the failed system in tackling corruption that was in place before President Buhari took over in 2015.
“We know he is aware of this, hence his latest diatribe against President Buhari amounts to nothing but disgusting grandstanding and an attempt to mock the system.
“If the system in Nigeria was indeed working, Alhaji Abubakar would not have acquired substantial shares in INTELS in clear conflict of his duties as a Customs officer whilst in office. Those shares would have belonged to the Nigerian people by now.
“If the system in Nigeria was indeed working, Abubakar would not have run a monopolistic company called INTELS all these years, ripping off the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state before President Buhari came and broke that monopoly.
“If the system was working, he would have been prosecuted and jailed for various acts of corruption and abuse of office after he left office as vice president, some of which are:
(a) For himself and his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, granting themselves licenses to build universities as president and vice president whilst in office in clear breach of the Code of Conduct for public officers. Those universities would have been probed, seized and transferred to the Nigeria state and the Nigerian people by now.
(b) Laundering slush funds to the United States of America using phony companies, part of which was used to fund his present American University in Adamawa State through which he is also extorting Nigerians through exorbitant fees. It is public knowledge that this indictment is contained in a U.S. Congressional Report that has led to the prosecution and conviction of his accomplices in the U.S., such as William Jefferson and Siemens. They were convicted under a system that works, whilst he has been walking free in Nigeria and even aspiring to the highest office in the land. It is also public knowledge that his ban from entering the United States was as a result of these indictments.
(c) His indictment and recommendation for prosecution by the report of the EFCC over the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) scandal whilst he was vice president.
“We have also read with keen interest the case filed against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by some public spirited Nigerians alleging that he never paid his personal income taxes as when due, yet he wants to ‘get Nigeria working again’.
“In this regard, we are also challenging Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to publicly display his personal income Tax receipts for the three years preceding 2018 to show that he did not just run to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2018 to pay his backlog of Personal Income Taxes.
“For the information of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, President Buhari’s gallant efforts in tackling corruption head-on, has led to the conviction of the President’s own party men and ex-governors who served under PDP and for acts they committed whilst in PDP. Seven hundred and three persons and institutions have been convicted by the EFCC under the watch of President Buhari since 2015. The biggest recoveries of stolen public funds in the history of Nigeria are being carried out by President Buhari. These recoveries were made from principally his party men who now wish to lead Nigeria with him. Some of these recoveries/seizures/forfeitures (interim and final) are:
(a) 407 mansions since 2015; (b) N794 billion, over $261 million 1.1 million Pounds sterling, 8.1 million Euros; (c) 259 automobiles; (d) a fully functional hospital, – St. Solomon Health Care Centre at 24, Adeniyi Jones Street, Ikeja, Lagos e.t.c.
“There are so many other instances too numerous to mention. These are a world apart from the few instances of the reluctant fight against corruption that Abubakar claimed happened under his watch as vice president.
“During his time, there was a competition for corruption between himself, his boss and public officers.
“We also urge the PDP to stop making wild, unsubstantiated allegations of corruption without a modicum of proof. We have no time to respond to any allegation by the PDP without the backing of some kind of document or proof.
“When we see some scintilla of proof, we shall respond appropriately. And that is how we have treated the recent allegation of acquisition of shares in Etisalat and Keystone Bank by some supposed ‘family members’ of the President. No name was mentioned and no document was shown.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s latest adventure in trying to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in matters of integrity with President Muhammadu Buhari is a political suicide mission from which we thought his handlers would have tried to steer him away.
“But alas! They have decided to test the waters. Locally and internationally, President Muhammadu Buhari stands several miles away from Abubakar in matters of integrity. When the President used all his life in public office building a reputation and a name, Abubakar used all his life in public office to build mansions and acquire personal wealth. Now Judgment Day has come when the credentials needed by the Nigerian people for the highest office are not the buildings and wealth but the simple quality of integrity. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar cannot eat his cake and have it.”
Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji
Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.
This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.
AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.
A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.
“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.
The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.
Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.
“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.
“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.
The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.
He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.
According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.
“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”
$1bn Arms Procurement: Clear Your Name Now, Coalition Charges Defence Minister
The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) has called on the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, to clear his name from the controversial purchase of security equipment.
The group noted that Magashi must explain how his ministry expended the $1billion approved by the Federal Government in April 2018.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, national coordinator, Timothy Charles, described the minister’s silence as “unholy” and an “embarrassment” to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Charles said the group is alarmed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim is carrying out acts to shield the minister.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice, therefore, advised the COAS to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.
The group also urged all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the minister comes out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.
While absorbing the former service chiefs of any involvement, the Coalition for Truth and Justice added that Magashi must come clean for Nigerians to take the FG more seriously in its quest to address the security challenges in the country.
Read the full statement below:
The Coalition for Truth and Justice, a non-governmental organization in Nigeria dedicated to the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria, welcomes you all to this important press conference that is intended to address some of the pertinent issues that have surrounded the $1 billion released for the purchase of arms in the prosecution of the war against terrorism and other acts of criminalities across the country.
We must agree that these issues are of great importance to the well-being of the country at large, given the country’s security challenges in recent times as well as the government’s efforts in addressing these challenges.
It is common knowledge that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had in April 2018 approved the release of $1 billion to Nigerian Defence authorities for the purchase of security equipment to fight insecurity in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Defence.
Thus, it is pertinent to state that since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, arms purchases have been domiciled with the Ministry of Defence and not individual services as erroneously projected in the public space.
It is also succinct to state that the Honorable Minister of Defence, who is in charge of the Ministry of Defence, should provide answers to questions surrounding arms purchase in the country. It is thus despicable that there has been some well-orchestrated attempt by some vested interest to divert attention from the Minister of Defence.
We are constrained to add that the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during his appearance before the House of Representatives is diversionary and an indication that he is carrying out the whims and caprices of the Honorable Minister of Defence.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice views the recent happenings as a sad development in the sense that as a high ranking officer of the Nigerian Army and one who is conversant with the operational procedures in the Nigerian Military would elect to feign ignorance to an issue as sensitive as arms purchase in the prosecution of the war against terrorism in the country.
We are aware that the Ministry of Defence is responsible for arms purchases and the unholy silence of the Honorable Minister of Defence in this regard leaves many questions unanswered. This is also an embarrassment of unimaginable proportion to the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the Honourable Minister of Defence cannot articulate a response to the questions surrounding the monies meant for arms purchase.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice uses this medium to call on the Honorable Minister to come out clear by providing the much-needed information surrounding the $1billion released to purchase arms.
If this is not the case, we then wonder why the Honorable Minister of Defence has elected to play to the gallery in a case as sensitive as this. More alarming is that the Chief of Army Staff has been carrying out acts that aim to shield the Honorable Minister of Defence.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice frowns at such display and wishes to advise the Chief of Army Staff to be bold enough to stand by the truth instead of being clever by half and attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.
We are constrained to add that if the Chief of Army Staff who has barely spent months in office would not be bold enough to call a spade a spade, we are afraid that his ability to lead the prestigious Nigerian Army is indeed questionable.
It is also curious that the Chief of Army Staff could ask that the past service chief be invited to answer questions on arms procurement during their tenures. This is indeed an anomaly that all well-meaning Nigerians must resist.
This also goes to the Honorable Minister of Defence, who, by his actions, has displayed that he does not have a grasp of the operational strategies of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is our considered opinion that the Honorable Minister of Defence must, as a matter of necessity and urgency, provide the general public details on how the $1billion was expended under his watch in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to demand that the Honorable Minister of Defence come out clear by providing facts and details on arms procurement under his watch.
Therefore, it would be inexcusable for the Honorable Minister of Defence to continue to shy away from his responsibilities by pushing a distractive narrative in the public space. And not until this is done, the government’s seriousness in the prosecution of the war against terrorism would always be called to question.
The general public must also be aware that the former service chiefs were never involved in arms procurement and must do good to ignore the well-orchestrated campaign in this regard. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Defence must come out to clear the air if we are indeed serious in addressing the security challenges in the country.
This is the position of the Coalition for Truth and Justice as critical stakeholders in the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in governance in Nigeria.
We thank you for your time and charge all present to take this message to their various constituencies.
God bless Nigeria.
God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
UK Group Task Ibomites to Support Their Leaders
The people of Akwa-Ibom state have been urged to celebrate their own rather than castigating leaders who have sacrificed for the development of their region.
The president General, Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi made this declaration in a statement on Thursday in London.
According to him, the people of Akwa-Ibom should see themselves as a region in Nigeria that are lucky to have a leader like the former governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio now minister of Niger Delta.
He said, “People of Akwa-Ibom state should learn to celebrate what they have. For any reason whatsoever, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is a palm tree, an iroko which is known by every native and international farmer”.
“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, Governor, Senator, now a minister of Niger Delta, he performed excellently and still have outstanding performance among his minister counterparts. So, why attack him?”.
Uyi said assessing Akpabio’s political journey so far, one will not be wrong to call Akpabio a successful politician because of his antecedents.
“If not for anything else, he puts Akwa-Ibom state in the Guinness book of record. The state or region is currently enjoying what Akpabio left on the ground”.
“Global Peace Movement International UK is saying clearly that the future of Nigeria is in Akwa-Ibom”.
Dr. Uyi said Akpabio’s progressive portfolio has added a label (GSM) to his personality. The label GSM stands for: Governor (G), Senator (S) and Minister (M).
“His starling performance can not be compared to any in the history of democracy in Nigeria and in Akwa-Ibom state since the creation of the state”.
Uyi further stated that Akpabio has long transcended state or regional barriers. “His sole motivation has been raising the standards of living of Nigerians, promoting the good image of the country and empowering ordinary citizens of Nigeria to not only pursue their dreams but more importantly in providing them with the means to achieve these dreams”.
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