The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has slammed those castigating Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, over the latter’s trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki and subsequent order of his arrest for abstaining from the tribunal.
Though the Nigeria Police Force says it does not have a warrant of arrest from the tribunal to carry out the order against Saraki, the anti-corruption crusader said the tribunal’s action has shown that nobody, no matter how highly placed can be treated as a sacred cow in the current fight against corruption in the country. Saraki’s trial was supposed to commence on Friday, 18 September, 2015, but his absence resulted in the tribunal ordering his arrest.
“It’s worth recalling that CACOL, like some other well-meaning individuals and organisations, has consistently been advocating the strengthening of our institutions, especially those serving as avenues for law and justice if our clamour for entrenching the culture of respect for the rule of law, recognition of its supremacy, equality before the law, enforcement of the law and of course, unbiased but upright judicial system, as a veritable means of stemming the alarming tide of corruption in our country, is to be taken seriously,” Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL said.
Adeniran reminded Nigerians that the Buhari administration was voted in mainly to effect a positive change in the system. “Having collectively agreed that corruption has remained our number one enemy of progress as a nation, we owe it a duty to collectively give every support possible to this government in its fight against the monster that has ravaged our nation for this long,” Adeniran added.
He said his organisation would not buy into all the sentiments of witch-hunt, vendetta and the likes against Saraki as being expressed by those he called subversive elements in the society. “What is all this noise about witch-hunt, selectiveness or vendetta or whatever they want to call it? To me, it’s all bal-da-dash. Let’s even agree that the CCB’s action is selective, the reasonable question here should be; does it have a case at all against the accused? If the answer is yes, then why all the fuss? Assuming only five out of 20 thieves are being selected for prosecution, does that remove the fact that those five are thieves? The point I believe these critics should rather address here is; if thieves are selected, there is no way you could be among those selected if you are not a thief; and if you believe you have been selected in error, appear before the court and prove your innocence. I believe that settles it,” Adeniran argued.
CACOL posited that Senator Saraki is a Nigerian, a lawmaker representing the people of Nigeria and that he is being arraigned before a competent court to answer to charges made against him.
“Guilty or not, he has to appear,” the coalition’s chairman said. “We also warn those mischief-makers to desist from politicising every step taken by the government or any constituted and competent arm of the government, towards achieving a given end. Whatever intra-party or inter-party crisis that may exist within the polity should be of less interest to the Nigerian public; rather, what should be of paramount interest should be that of our collective wish as a nation. The fight against corruption should be seen as a collective one; therefore this administration needs the support of all in order to succeed. We must all realise that it is Saraki today; it certainly would be somebody else tomorrow. The Code of Conduct Bureau must not only be effective but must be seen to be and it just has to start from somewhere,” Adeniran said.