Ijaw Youths Council has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his anti-corruption war to 1999 to cover the Obasanjo era so as to be taken seriously over his anti-corruption war.
The Ijaw youths, who are kinsmen of Jonathan, wondered why Buhari should skip the Obasanjo era and concentrate his probe on Jonathan’s administration, accusing him of having a hidden agenda against their son.
The National President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri, who signed the statement released in Abuja last night, said it was suspicious for Buhari to choose to probe only the Jonathan’s administration and leave out Obasanjo.
The IYC noted that for the Buhari regime to be taken seriously in the anti-corruption war, the President must extend the probe to 1999 so as to probe the Obasanjo government and recover stolen wealth carted away at that time.
The IYC pointed out that while they were not opposed to the probe, they were however not happy that Obasanjo was being excluded from the probe because of the support he gave to Buhari during the last election.
“While we are not against any effort of the President to investigate previous administrations and indeed take steps against the scourge of corruption in the society, we hereby state without equivocation that the period covered by this probe is a suspect.
“It would have made a lot of sense for somebody who is genuinely interested in revisiting alleged cases of malfeasance which has held our nation back to either commence such an investigation from 1960 when the country became independent or from 1999 when Nigeria became a democracy after years of military dictatorship.
“The President’s decision to leave out the eight-year period covered by the Presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, from 1999 to 2007, suggests that the current anti-corruption crusade is being manipulated to spare some sacred cows. We hold that this is unfair and that the tenure of Chief Obasanjo is being exempted because of the role he played in Buhari emergence as President.
“In fact, if there is somebody that should be probed, it should be Chief Obasanjo who lacked foresight and failed in the critical job to adequately arm our military, in spite of the huge funds appropriated for defence under him. If he had done so, the menace of Boko Haram would have long been dealt with in the early stages. It took the administration of Goodluck Jonathan to buy the weapons we need.
“This plan to exempt other leaders from the probe, if not corrected, could send out signals that the President may have come up with an anti-corruption crusade designed to protect Nigeria’s biggest crooks and to deal with perceived enemies.
“The President should be reminded that some of Nigeria’s biggest corruption-related scandals which culminated in the jailing of some foreign collaborators took place during this period that is being deftly exempted from the current investigation.
“A genuine crusade against corruption cannot take place in this country without touching some of these great scandals that are waiting to be addressed.
“It defies logic that our Dear President by this particular decision, appears to have drawn the curtain on the bribery scandal involving the six billion Dollars Liquidified Natural Gas Contract in Bonny, the KBR and Siemens Bribery Scandal, the Halliburton Bribery Scandal, which involved billions of Naira among others.
“The President should be graciously reminded that while the then Administration looked the other way, the United States Department of Justice fined a Japanese Construction Firm, Marubeni, to the tune of $54.6 million for bribing officials of the Nigerian Government to facilitate the award of the NLG Contract to TSKJ.
“Avoiding a probe into the historical corruption scandals of monumental proportions between 1999-2007 would portray our President as a man lacking in courage to confront the monster of corruption.
“This is the better thing to do rather than probing a dead man in the person of Late President Umaru Yar’ Adua,” the youth group noted.