A civil rights movement under the aegis of Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI), on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to refer the allegation of corruption made by the Senate against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation.
The group numbering over 38 specifically urged President to "ignore then detractors, who have been bought by corrupt politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections."
A statement issued in Abuja by the coordinator of CGGCI, Okpokwu Ogenyi, said the detractors have been hired to destabilise the present government and discredit Buhari's ongoing war against corruption, "using the frivolous allegations against the SGF as a launch pad."
He described SERAP as an organisation that has lost focus and “has allowed itself to be a tool of distraction to the President ahead of 2019 elections by not allowing the investigative panel set up by President Buhari to first submit its report before making its request.”
Ogenyi said, “SERAP has, through its letter to Mr. President, shown a high level of bias and wants to ambush the full report of the presidential investigative panel led by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), which was ordered to probe all top government officials accused of corruption.
“We’re concerned because our investigation, which was widely circulated through the media, showed that the Senate indictment was done using fake documents and if this level of impunity can be allowed unpunished , no Nigerian is safe.
“If SERAP and their collaborators do not believe the presidential investigative panel as evident in its move to ambush the report of the panel, how can it believe any investigative report by the EFCC and the ICPC? Why can’t SERAP wait until the AGF-led presidential panel submit its report?”, the coalition queried.
“Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu had clarified two days ago that what President Buhari has done in his letter to the Senate was simply to act in a response to a report by the SGF, Babachir David Lawal, who insisted that he and the companies cited were not given a fair hearing by the National Assembly.
“Rather than calling for a fair hearing, SERAP chose to join the band wagon of corruption, which is fighting President Buhari through the frivolous allegations against the SGF.
“For us, what President Buhari has done was in order by rejecting the call by the Senate to sack the SGF. The President, like our coalition, cited some infractions in the Senate committee’s interim report, while awaiting the report of the presidential investigative panel on all corruption allegation against officials of government."