The Federal Government spoke defiantly last night, saying it had no intention whatsoever to withdraw the Executive Order, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into force last week to preserve assets of corrupt persons and institutions under prosecution.
The government said it acted in the best interest of Nigeria in putting the order into effect and would not pull it back as it was not peculiar to Nigeria but widely used phenomenon in other democratic countries of the world.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made the position of the government public while responding to enquiries by
Vanguard , yesterday.
The minister said the administration was not surprised by the opposition to the order, knowing that some elements that had looted the country and plunged it into recession would be uncomfortable with the new direction.
Although he did not mention Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which, on Friday, opposed the new order, Malami said no amount of blackmail and misinformation would make the government withdraw the order.
Malami said: “The Executive Order as signed by the President is not peculiar and exclusive to Nigeria as a democracy. Major democratic climes, including America and United Kingdom, have similar orders in place. In the US, you have Executive Order blocking the property of persons involved in human rights abuse or corruption, which was signed in 2017.
“In the United Kingdom, you have Unexplained Wealth Order and Elimination of Corruption Order, among others.
“In the Nigerian context, the Executive Order No 6 is not only legitimate in line with the tradition and context of the precedent obtained in major democratic climates but a constitutional obligation imposed by our constitution on the government to fight corruption.
“It is only the enemies of anti-corruption with huge skeletons in their cupboards that believe in turning the hand of the clock back and rubbishing the gains made by the administration in the fight against corruption that will fight its application and operations.
“The government will not succumb to the antics of those who plunged the country into security crisis, compromise our investigative and judicial process and subject our economy into unprecedented recessions.
“Corruption must naturally fight back and it is exactly what is unfolding by the resolve of the corrupt elements to fight the order.”
Publish names involved in disbursement of $322m repatriated fund—PDP
Meanwhile, PDP has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to make public the names of those handling the disbursement of the $322 million repatriated Sani Abacha loot in line with his administration’s commitment to transparency in public administration.
The party said President Buhari should do so to show his penchant for transparency and enable Nigerians know the faces of those superintending over the management of the repatriated fund under the guise of sharing it to the ‘poorest of the poor’.
The party also challenged President Buhari to order the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to make public the APC interests who owned the consulting firm reported to have been paid billions of naira as consultancy fees for the “sharing” of the money, which was not also passed through the constitutionally required approval of the National Assembly.
A statement by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said: “President Buhari needs to note that Nigerians are utterly dismayed that having hitherto postured as a supporter of the ‘Talakawa’ and man of integrity, he has taken no steps against this bare-faced atrocity where over 90 per cent of supposed beneficiaries of the repatriated fund are phony names supplied by fraudulent officials of his government.”
“Nigerians are completely at a loss on why President Buhari always fail to take bold steps to expose and deal with corrupt and sharp practices by his appointees and leaders of his APC, even when such nefarious acts are directly against the less-privileged citizens already suffering the harsh economic realities of his administration.
“Since this issue was raised and the PDP called for a legislative scrutiny, the federal government and the APC have kept mum, perhaps, thinking that by their silence, it will be swept under the carpet like others in the past,” read a statement issued on Sunday by the party’s spokesman,’’ Kola Ologbondiyan.