Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Questions raised over Buhari's anti-corruption drive

21 January 2016, 17:38

Abuja - Several high-profile Nigerians are facing charges as part of a drive against corruption but there are concerns the government is settling old political scores and flouting due process.

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to recoup what he said were "mind-boggling" sums of public money stolen under previous administrations to fulfil a campaign pledge to end graft.

This week, the government claimed just 55 people stole more than $6 billion between 2006 and 2013, leaving Nigeria in the lurch as its economy struggles due to the global oil price slump.

But it is former national security advisor Sambo Dasuki who has become the key figure in the anti-corruption campaign.

Also Read: Fayose challenges Lai Mohammed to name those who stole N1.34 trillion

The former army colonel is accused of looting billions of dollars that were aimed at buying weapons and equipment for troops fighting Boko Haram Islamists.

Cash is alleged to have been diverted instead to members of former president Goodluck Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to fund his failed re-election campaign.

Dasuki was granted bail last month but has been kept in custody without access to his legal counsel as he awaits the start of three trials, his lawyer Joseph Daudu told a court in Abuja on Wednesday.

Dauda said the detention was a "brazen affront" to the judiciary and the judge agreed.

"I don't see how I can be conducting a criminal trial without the presence of the accused person," said judge Adeniyi Ademola. "You can set a dangerous precedent as it is."

Old habits?

Dauda later claimed Buhari was reverting to his old autocratic habits from his days as military ruler in the 1980s.

"He (Buhari) emphasised he was a changed man, open to democratic principals. But interfering with the court system, trying to find your own rule of law, is not good," he told AFP at his office.

"It makes the outcome suspect."

Prosecutor Oladipo Okpeseyi, however, denied any impropriety. "The federal government has obeyed every order made in respect of this case. We are not acting illegally in any way whatsoever," he said.

But Buhari's own comments about Dasuki and two other cases involving the pro-Biafra activist Nnamdi Kanu and the Shiite Muslim leader Ibrahim Zakzaky have rung alarm bells.

Also Read: Former Abuja land manager arraigned for corruption

He told reporters in December the men should be kept in custody because they had committed "atrocities" against the government -- despite none of them having been tried and convicted.

Kanu was arrested in October. He was granted bail in December but remains in secret police custody, pending a trial on "treasonable felony" charges.

Zakzaky was detained after a military raid on the headquarters of his Islamic Movement of Nigeria that it is claimed left hundreds dead. It is not clear whether he has been charged with any offence.

'Nothing to fear'?

Buhari was voted into power in 2015 after vowing to stamp out corruption and usher in a new democratic era free from bitter partisanship.

He won over sceptics by preaching forgiveness and pledged an impartial war on graft in the interest of political harmony.

"President Jonathan has nothing to fear from me," Buhari said in his acceptance speech last April. "Let's put the past behind us, especially the recent past."

But with the prosecution of Dasuki - a powerful member of Jonathan's administration -- the former head of state could yet be dragged into the case.

"The national security advisor will normally carry out the instructions of his president," Dasuki's other lawyer Ahmed Raji told AFP.

"You cannot talk about this matter without talking about President Jonathan."


Buhari's anti-corruption zeal has been widely praised and seen as much-needed but political analyst Chris Ngwodo said "it just has to be conducted in the right way".

"Corruption will be beaten by straightening institutions, not by disregarding them," he added.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is casting an ever-widening net to bag corrupt officials in Africa's most populous nation and leading economy.

But few charged with siphoning public funds have had their day in court and with most accused or subject to investigations being PDP members, the party has accused Buhari of conducting a witch-hunt.

Prominent PDP supporter and media magnate Raymond Dokpesi has been charged in the Dasuki case along with the party's spokesman Olisa Metuh. who appeared in court recently in handcuffs.

That so many PDP figures have been arrested risks stoking tensions in a country where partisan loyalty frequently erupts into deadly violence.

"Securing actual convictions of these people, that is the real litmus test of the anti-corruption campaign," Ngwodo said.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...