Looters in government burying loot in Villa, says Fayose
• Amaechi demands apology, threatens N1.25b suit
Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose yesterday described as absurd a claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that looters have resorted to burying stolen funds in their backyards, deep forests and burial grounds.
He alleged that looters in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, especially those “being compensated for funding his election in 2015 bury their own loot in the Aso Rock Villa with presidential protection.”
He queried: “Should it be wrong for other supposed looters that do not have presidential protection like their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts to bury their loot in burial grounds probably for spiritual protection?”
The more the anti-corruption is fought, the more controversy it triggers in a manner that questions the integrity of the exercise. The challenge for the government is to prosecute it in a transparent way that would engender support .
In a statement yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said: “Nigerians can no longer be fooled with stage-managed loot recoveries, with no traceable owners (looters), especially when the loot are traceable to close associates of the president and his cabinet members.
“Obviously, this so-called anti-corruption war has become a laughing stock with N49 million found at Kaduna Airport, N448 million discovered in a shop at Victoria Island, Lagos and N13 billion found in Ikoyi, Lagos neither having owners nor the identities of owners of the properties where the money was found known.”
He went on: “It is either the money belongs to members of Buhari’s government or it is being planted by the government to sustain its fake anti-corruption fight in the minds of the people.
“Enough of stage-managed and fake anti-corruption war aimed solely at opposition figures, especially presidential hopefuls in the 2019 election.”Fayose noted that two different laws were now being operated in the country, with one law for the APC and those who decamp to the party and another for the opposition, especially those perceived as having presidential ambition.
“The narrative they push daily is that only those in their government are saint while other Nigerians, including those in the National Assembly, judiciary, opposition politicians and the civil servants, are rogues while only Buhari’s appointees are saints.
“To worsen matters, the cluelessness of the APC government in the last two years has plunged the country into debt without anything to show.“The cabals in the presidency are also taking advantage of the president’s state of health, which is as a result of his age to oppress Nigerians.
“Nigerians must therefore keep their eyes on the ball and not be carried away by the orchestrated distractions aimed at preventing them from seeing how the APC-led government has failed woefully.”He called on the international community to hold Nigeria accountable on the recovered N13 billion cash found in the Ikoyi, Lagos apartment saying: “This must not be swept under the carpet.”
Reacting, Mohammed said: “Governance is a serious business and not one to be trivialised.”Besides, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave a seven-day ultimatum to a former Aviation Minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode and the media aide to Fayose to publicly apologise and pay N1.25 billion to him for linking him to the seized Ikoyi N13 billion.
Amaechi’s lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), claimed that his client had been defamed by messages on the Twitter timelines of the two politicians on the issue and threatened a law suit if the duo failed to retract their allegations.
A founding APC member, Prince Tony Momoh challenged the governor to name those being shielded. He insisted that the Buhari he knows and has been working with since 2003, would never support corruption.
He said: “I can say from experience that Buhari does not protect evil even if his wife or children are involved.“I do not think it is fair to say the president protects corruption. He only believes in the rule of law. For instance, the man had refused to change most heads of parastatals appointed by his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on the argument he would not change them until their four-year tenure elapses. This has been generating heat among the APC members who felt that they were being shortchanged. The president has not even revoked any of the contracts awarded by his predecessor.”
Also, former Senate Minority Leader, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, condemned the governor, saying: “His allegation against the president was unfair and unexpected. I would have expected that if Fayose has any revelations in terms of corruption or those he felt are burying corrupt money in the Aso Rock Villa, the onus is on him to bring out the facts behind the allegation.”
Mamora said President Buhari has only been trying to be modest and meticulous in whatever he is doing. “The good thing is that since he became president, there have been revelations regarding corruption and corrupt practices and to say he is protecting some people in his government is very unfair.
“My advice to the governor is for him to prove the allegation.”But the National Chairman of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Ralph Nwosu, said there was no anti-corruption fight in the first instance but a deliberate effort on the part of the APC government to ridicule the country before the comity of nations.
He submitted: “What the administration of Buhari is doing was a vendetta war against its perceived enemies and a process to gag everybody ahead of the 2019 elections.
“Assuming they are even fighting corruption, I am totally against the process. The process to correct systemic war is never the way Buhari is going about it. There is no study throughout the world that justifies Buhari’s anti-corruption war neither has the administration itself carried out any study or research to back up its anti-graft exercise, therefore I do not see it leading Nigeria anywhere.”
Nwosu added that this is the only country where money is found in airport, homes, shops and everywhere while the owners remain untraceable.“Even the ordinary market women do not need an oracle like Fayose to know that President Buhari is making mockery of the country. For instance, the Minister of Information has been announcing money discovered here and there without the owners but at the same time, the country is going about trying to borrow money from the international community, what a contradiction,” he remarked.