By Umar Muhammad Puma
Fresh revelations of a N594billion recovery from corrupt civil servants show the extent of the rot in the system that the Buhari administration is working hard to clean up, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said.
This, according to the group, is one of the reasons President Muhammadu Buhari deserves all the support he needs to sanitize the country and ensure that people live within their means.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it was instructive that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) revealed that the fraudulent acts were perpetrated by a tiny clique in the civil service.
“The previous revelation by EFCC linking 32 entities to the theft of N1.3trillion in four years prior to 2015 had not fully sank in before the ICPC came out with details of the recovery of more than half a trillion naira from a group of retired and serving civil servants.
“It is unimaginable that an amount that is more than the annual budget of several states combined was taken from the public coffers by different categories of people without a thought for the larger national interest. It is even more surprising that about 400 public servants who are still in active service were part of what could be described as brigandage against the Nation.
“This is aside the 1200 others whom, according to ICPC officials, were conniving with microfinance banks to short-change the system between 2016 and 2018.
“All these show the magnitude of corrupt practices in the public service and how, in spite of the zero-tolerance of the administration to corruption, some people are still bent on circumventing government policies for personal gains.
“We urge the ICPC to ensure that all public officials found involved in corrupt acts that led to the recoveries are prosecuted in order to send a clear signal to others who may be thinking of doing same,” it said.
In rallying support for the anti corruption crusade, BMO urged Nigerians especially civil servants to take advantage of the whistle blower policy of the Buhari administration to provide information that would lead to more recoveries of looted funds.
“We are also not unmindful of the possibility that some members of this tiny minority of public servants who want a return to the status quo are still in the system. These individuals who are used to living beyond their means may also have continued to be involved in unwholesome practices to fund their extravagant lifestyle.
“So our appeal is to the conscientious ones among them to cash in on the whistle blower policy and provide useful information to the authorities.”
BMO noted that the news about the ICPC recovery of N594bn came at a time global investment banking giants, JP Morgan was found culpable of conniving with some unnamed Nigerian officials to loot almost $900 million from a government account in London between 2011 and 2013.
“This is yet another example of what President Buhari is up against. How could a bank which prides itself as one of the best multinational investment banks in the world be part of a scheme to steal $900m which is part of what is known as the Abacha Loot? This is exactly what happened based on court papers, according to the international media.
“We know that a majority of Nigerians are happy with government efforts to recover looted funds and showed it with the overwhelming endorsement they gave the President for a second term in office, we also hope that many others would now understand why he needs all the support to do more.”