By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has said that the implementation of Executive Order 6 was not targeted at the opposition but to further the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration fight against corruption.
In a statement made available to newsmen by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency maintained that the essence of the order was to expedite prosecution of graft cases in the courts.
The Presidential spokesman also disowned the list of 50 men purportedly affected by the travel ban as published by some Media houses.
Shehu said “In the history of independent Nigeria, this is the first time any government is taking such a key decision to fight corruption.
“EO 6 is not only revolutionary to the efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption but a manifestation of systemic changes that are required to to make necessary adjustments as we carry on with the war against corruption.
“The very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases. The order is not Political and there is no political gain behind its activation.
“These high profile cases we are talking about have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight. These case were mostly originated by administrations other than this one.
“What is clear is that the access to these resources by the suspects has enabled them to be in a composition to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial. In most of the cases, the courts are held in a helpless position by legal acrobatics paid for from corrupt enrichment by the suspects.
“The new measures put in place should compel everyone involved to make for a speedy conclusion of these cases. If it is your money, you have it back. If it belongs to the public, it goes back to the treasury.
The question of the constitutionality of the restriction order is answered by the fact that a court of the land has given government a clean chit. The Executive Order is legal and constitutional and therefore implementable.
One of the cardinal objectives of the government under our constitution is to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is a responsibility and obligation upon the government.
On the so-called list you asked for confirmation, I want to confirm to you that we have not issued any list and we are not doing so.
These case that are well known and to to say this or that name is on it will open the door to further accusations, including trial by media. The Immìgration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement and they will do so giving due respects to individual rights, in line with the the constitution.”