John Ameh, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria on Friday told President Muhammadu Buhari that the ruling All Progressives Congress was becoming a safe haven for corrupt politicians.
CAN, therefore, asked the President to make the war against corruption total and non-discriminatory in order to rid the nation of the corruption cancer which has eaten deep into her fabric.
The CAN leadership, led by its President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, spoke in Abuja during a meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
“Like we categorically noted here during our last visit, the wish of the people is for the war against corruption to be total and without discrimination. Not a few believe that the ruling party is becoming a safe haven to some corrupt politicians in their bid to escape the trap of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” Ayokunle told the President.
The leadership of the Christian body said Buhari must clear the negative impression that the anti-corruption was targeted at non-APC members.
It, however, commended, the government’s anti-corruption war, saying it had led to the recovery of some looted funds.
“CAN commends your boldness and courage in implementing the BVN and the Treasury Single Account system. There is no doubt that the two policies have greatly helped in sanitising the system,” it added.
CAN demands free, fair polls in 2019
On the 2019 polls, CAN asked Buhari to improve on the credibility of the 2015 polls that brought him into power by ensuring that next year’s general elections are freely and fairly conducted.
Specifically, the Christian body called for a Presidential Order directing the police and other security agencies to be non-partisan during the elections, adding that it was in Buhari’s interest to ensure that the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission surpassed that of 2015.
CAN stated, “A Presidential Order to the Police and other security agencies to be non-partisan, neutral and apolitical in the coming general elections, with a view to securing international respect and honour for our country in the comity of nations.
“The degree of desperation we saw in the politicians during the intra-party elections that took place recently do not give many people hope concerning 2019 unless serious steps are taken to let decency prevail. We appeal to you to make sure that the law enforcement agents and the election umpire do their work professionally without intimidation of voters, manipulation and any trace of violence throughout the period of elections.
“We believe that the survival and peace of Nigeria are greater than the ambition of any politician.
“We again request that your administration conducts free and fair election that will add to the accolades the country received from the conduct of the 2015 elections that brought you to power.”
Body raises concerns over Benue, Plateau Zamfara killings
On the security situation of the country, CAN raised concerns over insecurity in the country, saying the Buhari administration must double its efforts in bringing the killings in states such as Plateau, Adamawa, Benue, Zamfara, Kebbi and Taraba under control.
The leadership of the Christian body observed that as much as Boko Haram had been tamed to a large extent, the insurgents were still hitting “soft targets” and taking many lives.
It said, “The menace of bandits in states like Zamfara and Kebbi has become a nightmare, coupled with the unending killings by herdsmen in the North-Central geopolitical zone, especially in Plateau, Benue and Taraba states. Not only have these attackers killed hundreds of innocent lives on the Plateau, they are presently occupying homes of their victims in Gashish District of Plateau State.
“(The) appalling conditions in some of the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps are driving many into despair. Unarguably, the failure of the police to nip the activities of these criminals in the bud accounts for drafting of the military to quell civil insurrection.
It added, “Other criminal elements amidst us like kidnappers and hired killers are still perpetrating their havocs as if might has become right. It is not yet UHURU, and the long walk to bidding farewell to these criminal acts is fraught with tedious bends.”
Among others, CAN called for more intelligence gathering by security agencies and “a total overhauling of the security system with a view to replacing security chiefs who have overstayed their welcome.”
The body also asked for the setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the killing of the late Director of Administration of the Army, Maj. Gen. Idris Alkali (retd.), and the “circumstances surrounding the kidnap and killing of the paramount chief of the Adara Chiefdom in Kaduna State, His Royal Highness, the Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima.”
Demand justice for Leah Sharibu, Dasuki
It also made a call for all efforts to be made to secure the release of the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl being held by Boko Haram, Leah Sharibu.
On the continued detention of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and the Leader of the Shi’ites, Mallam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, CAN appealed to the government to ensure that the rule of law was adhered to in their prosecution.
I’m committed to anti-graft war –President
But, Buhari told CAN leadership that his vision and objectives for the country remained to fight corruption, securing it from insurgents and resuscitating the economy.
Buhari told the CAN leadership that his administration was doing well in delivering on his campaign promises.
He said, “It is on record that some cases initiated by the anti-graft bodies since 2003 are yet to be concluded. We will, however, not be discouraged.
“Where monies have been recovered, such monies will not find their way back to the looters as I have directed the EFCC to account for every kobo it has recovered and put them in a dedicated account,” Buhari told the visitors.
On the request by CAN that Buhari should ensure the conduct of free and fair polls in 2019, the President replied, “When I decided to put on this Agbada to see what the people are seeing in it, I tried three times; 2003, 2007 and 2011, but the fourth time, in 2015, I succeeded.
“We thank God and technology in the form of permanent voter card and card reader, because what they used to do was to look at constituencies, award the votes and then they will say whoever didn’t agree should go to court.
“When people are looking for what to eat, where do they have the money to go to court to pay the Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”