A group, Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has expressed indignation against President Muhammadu Buhari over his asset declaration and the corrupt ministerial nominees as it concerns his promised anti-corruption war in Nigeria.
In a three-page Letter dated 7th of October, 2015 and signed by the National Coordinator, SNG, Barrister Benedict Ezeagu, the group demanded clarification on the necessary details of Buhari’s asset declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and also pointed out that most of his ministerial nominees are tainted and corrupt.
The group, therefore, declared that it is currently compiling a forensic and comprehensive list of Nigerians and companies, including many of these your ministerial nominees, involved or implicated in one crime cum corruption scandal or the other since 1970 till date, with some helpful clue, for onward transmission to the presidency for their immediate prosecution.
Below are the details of the letter:
7th of October, 2015
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.), GCFR
Commander-in-Chief and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Presidential Villa, Three Arms Zone,
Re: Your Asset Declaration And The Corrupt Ministerial Nominees: Request For More Clarification In The Interest Of Transparency
Save Nigeria Group (SNG) is the foremost registered coalition of human rights and prodemocracy organizations in Nigeria. It was formed as a child of necessity on 6th of January, 2010 by prominent human rights and prodemocracy activists and organizations in Nigeria to mobilize the populace to guard the nation’s democracy which was then threatened by the crises associated with late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s sickness. We are non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of democracy, freedom, constitutionalism, security, peace, transparency and good governance in the country.
Sir, after a crucial meeting of our organization wherein we appraised the issues surrounding your asset declaration and your ministerial nominees among other things, we resolved to write you to first convey our support for your promised anti-corruption war in Nigeria and to demand for clarification on the necessary details of your asset declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as well as to inform you that most of your ministerial nominees are tainted and corrupt.
Sir, the press release made by your media aide on your asset declaration leaves much to be desired about a transparent and sincere public asset declaration as intended by the law and by an avowed person of integrity and anti-corruption fighter. First, Nigerians had to wait for a long time to put pressure on you to make your asset declaration public as promised but unfortunately when this was eventually made public few weeks ago via a press release by your Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, his report on the said asset declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) is lacking in exactitude and is shrouded in myth, it did not disclose the essential details of your assets thereby raising serious suspicion.
According to Garba Shehu, the documents you submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), show that prior to being sworn in on the 29th May,2015 you had less than N30 million and one bank account(with the Union Bank);a total of seven(7) houses, which include two mud houses in Daura, two homes in Kaduna, one each in Kano, Daura and in Abuja; two undeveloped plots of land, including one in Kano and the other in Port Harcourt(which you are still trying to trace);farms in Daura, which include an orchard and a ranch with the total number of your holdings in the said farms comprising 270 heads of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, a variety of birds and a number of economic trees; a number of cars, two of which you bought from your savings and the others supplied to you by the federal government in your capacity as former Head of State while the rest were donated to you by well-wishers.
Sir, it could be recalled that during the last Presidential election campaign you willingly promised Nigerians that you will declare your assets public, and while giving the populace the impression that you were like any other average Nigerian struggling to make ends meet, you told us that you borrowed money to pay for your party’s expression of interest form. Thus, the teaming members of our organization across the country and indeed Nigerians would want to know the exact values and sources of these assets which you declared to the CCB. We want to know the exact number, sizes, values and sources through which you acquired these houses, exotic cars, farms and plots of land as well as the Shares you have in some Banks and companies, including those of your wife and children. For instance, the citizenry want to know the number and values of your newly acquired exotic cars and these well-wishers you said donated them to you; we want to know the exact sizes, locations and sources through which you acquired your farms and plots of land, especially your Abuja property which has been estimated by various interests to be worth between Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) and One Billion Naira(N1,000,000,000).
This clarification is very necessary now Sir, because ever since your incoherent asset declaration to the CCB was made public by your media aide, we have sadly seen some dishonest public officials who, while following your unimpressive method of asset declaration, now make vague asset declarations that mock the purpose of the Code of Conduct for public officials as stipulated in Nigerian Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Chapter 56 LFN 1990. Thus, any further delay or failure on your part to clarify these issues will leave room for Nigerians to continue to suspect that you are not as credible as you presented yourself to the electorate during your electioneering campaign, and this will disappointedly leave the citizenry with the impression that you are either personally corrupt or devising a means to condone corruption during your ongoing tenure as the President of Nigeria.
Sir, as indicated earlier we are enthused by your declared dedication to fighting corruption in Nigeria, however, it is on record that Nigerians have heard and experienced this kind of promise from the past rulers of the country only to be woefully disappointed by the same rulers who ultimately failed to genuinely fight corruption because they also have skeleton in their cupboards. This informed this our demand that you come out clear and clean on this controversy that has since trailed your asset declaration to dispel the different speculations about your means and the insinuations about your integrity that is currently being called to question, especially as it is imperative that he who comes to equity should come with clean hands and he who seeks equity must be ready to do equity. By making the detailed value and sources of your assets and liabilities public, you would be doing what the law requires of you as a public official as well as be fulfilling your campaign promise to Nigerians.
Our demand that you make your asset declaration more transparent is not outlandish because we already have a historic standard set by the former President, late Umaru Yar’Adua, when on 28 June, 2007 (within a month of his swearing-in) he declared his assets public. And while making this declaration, he publicized both his assets and liabilities, including the value and sources of these assets and those of his wife. Thus, we want you to prove your integrity to Nigerians in the same manner as number one (1) citizen of this country. This will empower the citizenry to use your example as the basis to compel other public officials in your government and across Nigeria to do same. Thus, every other public official you would appoint to work with you, including the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, would be obligated to also make the necessary details of their asset declaration public. More so, when you open up to Nigerians in this way you would have signaled your readiness to fight corruption without fear, favour or discrimination, and proven how genuinely-determined your government wants to fight corruption.
Consequently, as we await your timely clarification of the issues mentioned herein, we want to also inform you that over 80% of the individuals named in your Ministerial List which is currently before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are tainted having been involved, accused or implicated in corrupt practices and other criminal offences in the past, either in their private business dealings or public offices, and this does not reflect the avowed ‘change’ from the past thereby raising question as to whether your long awaited Cabinet will be able to make a difference from the past governments, especially on the anti-corruption fight.
Therefore, as a mark of our organization’s readiness to collaborate with you in the fight against corruption without discrimination and to move the country forward through the path of justice to sustainable development, we wish to inform you that we are currently compiling a forensic and comprehensive list of Nigerians and companies, including many of these your ministerial nominees, involved or implicated in one crime cum corruption scandal or the other since 1970 till date, with some helpful clue, for onward transmission to your office for their immediate prosecution. Thus, we will from now engage your government robustly on five (5) cardinal promises you made to Nigerians during your electioneering campaign viz:
A) Security and Peace
B) Anti-Corruption and Accountability
C) Employment and Poverty Eradication
D) Human Rights, Equity and Justice
E ) Restructuring and Fiscal Federalism
No doubt, the public declaration of asset by public officials as stipulated in the country’s Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Chapter 56 LFN 1990 is meant to make the public official concerned accountable to the citizenry, and in this case what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. In view of this, we await your timely favorable response to this patriotic and legal demand of ours. We hope to hear from you within the next twenty-one (21) days to enable us to be accurately guided on the next steps we would want to take on this sensitive issue which is dear to the hearts of our members nay the populace, as nothing less is expected from a President who rode into office on the back of the mantra of ‘change’ from corruption to transparency and from profligacy to prudence, among other niceties.
Barr. Benedict Ezeagu
National Coordinator, SNG.
*The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
*The National Judicial Council (NJC)
*The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)
Attached: Original documents
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