ABUJA – To show his determination to rid Nigeria of corruption, the president elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, after his inauguration on Friday, will unveil his anti-corruption strategy, Vanguard learnt yesterday.
The Strategy will be such that will put Nigerians with corruption baggages on their toes and make them to return their loots back to the federal government coffers even less persuasion.
To realize this objective, Vanguard investigations indicated that
there is likely to be an establishment of a high powered anti-corruption panel with a mandate to investigate corrupt government officials and private individuals who had swindled the country.
The panel shall also have the responsibility of tasking the corrupt individuals on making valuable returns in the form of plea bargain.
A timeline, Vanguard learnt will be given for the returns and once it expires, there will be full probes of the persons who had returned their ill gotten wealth and also of others who refused to return theirs.
This, Vanguard learnt is to ascertain whether such returns were commensurate with history of looted money.
The investigations would also touch on all other government properties which included buildings.
It was not however known if the probe would be restricted to the outgoing government of President Goodluck Jonathan which would cease to exist on Friday.
A dependable source who is a close ally of Buhari both in military and civil politics confided in Vanguard that the president-elect is likely to shock most Nigerians immediately after he is sworn in.
According to him, Buhari is committed to stamping out corruption in Nigeria and would not relent.
The source who didn’t want his name in print said that though talks were ongoing on how best to approach the issue of corruption, the methodology was yet to be fully discussed.
He however stated that the conventional anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC, would be reorganized and reactivated to play the lead role in the fight against graft.
He said: “We have not discussed with the president-elect on how he wants to treat his anti-corruption policy. I know he has said he has zero tolerance for corruption. He is a structured man. He is a man of the system. So, to begin to go round the idea may not be correct.
“I believe he will used the structures that are available to fight corruption. That I know. And the modalities it will take, that will be determined by the time he is in office. He will look at the entire thing and then based on the inputs he will get from the experts, he will determine the methodology to go about fighting corruption.”
“Certainly, I know that that is one of the things on the table which he must face squarely. Corruption is everywhere in the country. It has eaten so deep in our psyche. So, it needs to be fought head on. There has to be an assault on it from every angle.”
Asked if the president-elect will quickly swing into action immediately after he is sworn in on Friday, the source who also has a rich military background said Buhari has since fathomed how best to make Nigeria work again.
“You don’t want him to start that day? This is a man who has been trying to be president for the last 14 years. So, if he has not made up his mind on how to govern this country all these years, then there is problem. So, he knows what to do and he knows how to do it. Just give him the chance”, he said.
Vanguard investigations also showed that the incoming government would reorganize the nation’s security apparatus including the paramilitary especially those whose offices are not tenured starting with the Nigerian Army down to the EFCC.
But whether the reorganization would include relieving the current Heads of the institutions and agencies their present appointments we don’t known.
“I don’t know about that but I am sure he is going to take decision and whatever decision he takes, I am sure it is in the interest of the nation and the interest of greater proportion of Nigeria. So, let’s wait and see whatever decisions and pronouncements he will make. May 29th is just knocking by the door”, the source told Vanguard.
One may think that Buhari may be selective in his anti-corruption fight judging from public perception of many of Buhari’s political allies who may have soiled their hands in the past.
But here, the source said that the fight against corruption would be total and complete cutting across all strata of the society and in the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He added that no one would stop the wind of change either in or outside the APC.
“Are you alleging that someone people around him are corrupt? If you are not alleging that, then what will stop him from fighting corruption? You must understand one thing. General Buhari’s government is going to be far from the PDP government because if you have been following his comments, his pronouncements since the campaigns, there are three items he has selected and said these are the areas he will concentrate.
“He talked about corruption. He talked about insecurity. He talked about economy and by implication job creation. These are cardinal. Not that there are no other things but these are key things to getting this country turned around. These are things that can not be compromised by him. He has only identified and made up his mind that he is going tackle them.
“So, the question of people insinuating that there are people around him who are corruption, that is their business. If people are alleging that, I don’t know of any but if there is any, that is their business because that will not stop the wind of change when it comes to fighting corruption.
“So, the issue of saying he would be handicapped because he is surrounded by anybody, I don’t think that will stop him from forging ahead. There is going to be no sacred cow in this fight because if you want to make a change, it has to be total. And fighting corrupt in all ramifications is the way to go and I am sure the government will face it because the level at which corruption has gone in this country, if you don’t face corruption and fight it squarely, then whatever thing you put on the ground is a waste.
“So, that is our bane and we must face it. Any government that must make a change and bring succour to the people of Nigeria must fight corruption. There are people who will resist it but government is mightier than anybody. As far as the president-elect is concerned, I can tell you that there is no going back when it comes to fighting corruption. There is no second thought about it”, he said.