Soft on corruption? Not me, President Jonathan says

by Staff Writer

Despite the cases of alleged corruption involving important bodies of the government including the Security and Exhchange Commission and the House, Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan denies that either him or his administration are “soft on corruption”.

The Presidency said nothing had been done or left undone under the President’s watch to justify the labelling of his administration as “soft on corruption.”

Dr. Reuben Abati, spokesman for the president released a statement saying: “In the prosecution of the war against corruption, President Jonathan believes that the interests of national peace, stability, progress and development override all other considerations and are therefore beyond any compromise. The President continues to uphold this belief in all his private and official actions. He therefore urges Nigerians to be wary of those who seek to heat up the polity by politicising the issue of corruption in the pursuit of their selfish personal and sectional agenda,” The Guardian reported.

Abati also said that the president had reiterated his firm stance against corruption and that since he became president, Jonathan had worked to “strengthen the nation’s anti-corruption agencies for greater efficiency and effectiveness.” He cited the hiring of EFCC chief and that he also declined to hire an ICPC head when questions were raised.

According to him, “much of the politically-motivated agitations alleging tardiness in the war against corruption revolve around the administration’s handling of the reports of probes that have been undertaken into the management of fuel subsidies in the country. President Jonathan wishes to reaffirm, once again, that there will be no sacred cows in the matter and that any organisation or individual found guilty of fraud or corruption will ultimately face the full weight of sanctions prescribed by the extant laws of the country.”

The Guardian continues:

The presidential aide said the report of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidies had been referred by Jonathan to the EFCC through the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation.

“In compliance with the President’s directives, the EFCC is undertaking a thorough investigation of all indictments made by the committee with a view to establishing water-tight cases that will be taken before courts of competent jurisdiction as soon as possible.

“The report of the committee headed by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, which was set up by the Federal Government to verify fuel subsidy payments has also been received and is being expeditiously reviewed. Appropriate action will follow. President Jonathan urges Nigerians to be patient and assured that the guilty will definitely not go unpunished as justice will certainly be done in the matter,” Abati said.

His request for a rewrite of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was also among the list of anti-corruption accomplishments.

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