Outraged by #PanamaPapers revelations, Nigerians ask Buhari to probe, prosecute named officials

Bukola Saraki 3

Civil society groups and concerned Nigerians on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order relevant anti-graft and security agencies to immediately launch a probe of some top public officials named in connection with the massive Panama Papers scandal.

A huge trove of internal data of the Panama-based offshore provider, Mossack Fonseca, obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with PREMIUM TIMES and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries, revealed records of top secret financial dealings by over 128 politicians and public figures, including Nigerians.

The cache of 11.5 million records of financial secrecy of top politicians, fraudsters and drug barons, celebrities, billionaires and sports stars, included some prominent Nigerians.

They include the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and his wife, Toyin, former Senate President, David Mark; a retired army general and former defence minister, Theophilus Danjuma, former Delta State governor, James Ibori and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and his oil-magnate brother, Sayyu Dantata.

Following the report, the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, resigned from office, becoming the first powerful political figure to go down with the scandal after he was implicated by the massive leakage of classified documents.

With Mr. Gunnlaugsson’s resignation on Tuesday, some Nigerians and civil society groups became emboldened Wednesday to turn the heat on the Nigerian government to pressurize affected top officials to emulate him.

But some have noted that it would be near impossible for Nigerians to see the Iceland Prime Minister’s example back home due to the high level of impunity and the dearth of moral and ethical values among the country’s political class.

Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, said the #PanamaPapers expose further showed how politically exposed persons in the country connived to fritter away Nigeria’s wealth to offshore havens to the detriment of the country and its people.

Mr. Ugolor, who expressed concern over government’s silence on the leaked document, urged President Buhari to immediately order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate all those named.

“Such investigation will reveal the true identity of all those involved and how much they stashed away in Panama,” Mr. Ugolor said.

An Abuja-based development economist and public commentator, Odilim Enwegbara, urged Nigerians to mobilize and march to the National Assembly to demand that affected officials take steps to clear their names immediately or resign.

The Country Director, PLAN International Nigeria, Hussaini Abdu, regretted that Nigerians were not likely to see a replay of the Iceland PM’s action in Nigeria due to the country’s entrenched impunity in the political system.

“We have a different attitude to issues of accountability, such that the public is not shocked whenever their leaders do things that embarrass them or bring the country to disrepute,” he noted.

Mr. Abdu said the revelations should however provide leads for further investigations by various anti-graft agencies with the aim of revisiting the asset declarations of the affected officials.

“Where it is found that these assets were not included in what they declared initially, the affected officials should be compelled to vacate their office and face prosecution immediately,” he said.

The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, CENSOJ, Eze Onyekpere, shared Mr. Abdu’s opinion, saying the documents should provide a prima facie evidence of what security and anti-graft agencies should follow up and possibly press charges in court against the affected officials.

For former President General, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Peter Esele, there was nothing to be excited about the Iceland PM’s resignation, because of the lack of values in the Nigerian polity.

“What happened in Iceland is that their society is founded on a value consent and character. Ours is based on ethnicity and such parochial sentiments. This is why we are where we are today,” Mr. Esele lamented.

An Abuja-based lawyer, George Ukaegbu, was equally not excited about prospects of the affected politicians stepping down from office to face prosecution, because of Nigeria’s peculiar environment.

“The proper thing should have been for them to resign as was the case in Iceland. But our law thrives on the concept that a man is innocent until proven guilty. This is a mundane concept Nigerians have clung on, so much that they throw away all morals. That is why we will never become a developed country,” Mr Ukaegbu said.


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  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Why aren’t the Civil Society Organizations outraged by allegations of forgery and perjury swirling around Buhari? Why isn’t Premium Times imploring Buhari to follow the example of the PM of Iceland?

    • Nwa_Africa

      Take your medication now…………………………

      • John

        The guy is seriously sick, and needs urgent medical attention. The best thing is to completely ignore his future post, based on that, he would know he’s completely irrelevant.

        • Rossnero

          @disqus_adrUdD9Atb:disqus

          I want to let
          the whole world know this thing. There is no water in Lagos. There is no
          electricity and there’s no petrol. Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria;
          and Nigeria is the giant of Africa that’s now thrust into the 16th century by
          incompetent President Buhari. No human life is possible today in Lagos state.
          People in Lagos cannot have their bath. This bad situation has been going on
          since January this year on and off.

          The Nigerian newspapers have been
          hiding this. We want the world to hear our voice. President Buhari resumed
          on 29th of May last year. Since then Buhari has made Nigeria worse than Kabul
          or Fallujah where shooting wars are going on with Al Qaeda and the Islamic
          State of Syria and Iraq.

          But it looks worse in Lagos, Nigeria, where the
          Lagosians have started smelling very bad. They cannot wash their mouth or wash
          their clothes or have their bath. As things worsen in Nigeria under the incompetent
          President Muhamadu Buhari, a health epidemic is likely to break out in Nigeria.

  • filipi007

    Premium Times Editor,

    General T.Y Danjuma is the litmus test of the genuineness of the BUHARI
    much-vaunted anti-corruption war. This Panama moneylaundering case will
    reveal the true character of BUHARI The media must stay focused on this
    General Danjuma’s presumptive money-laundering in extent he was not
    allowed by military service law as a soldier to engage in private business;
    or for that matter transfer foreign currencies out in his own name as
    beneficial owner in Panama and at HSBC, under the secret codes
    of private secret banking.

  • Rollingdollar

    Sorry guys, Buhari will NEVER order any probe. There are 3 names on that list- Dangote, Abacha and Danjuma, that Buhari will not want to investigate. This names have therefore saved any other indicted person in that report. Lucky chaps. They say Justice is blind, but Buhari own justice, dey see face well-well.

    • ALUTA CONTINUA

      @Rollingdollar:disqus

      That means Panama people have exposed that President Buhari is not fighting any corruption. You see now!
      Lies, lies, lies all around this Buhari of a man. Lies over Waec school cert. Lies over campaign promise;
      lies over petrol scarcity Buhari said will end today. Come and see queue as long as the Israel one on
      the way to the Red Sea. No fuel scarcity has ended anywhere. People are suffering a lot in Nigeria.
      The old liars who told us to vote for Buhari – people like WOLE SOYINKA and OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
      are now in hiding. They are too ashamed to face the nation to say sorry. Next time let any of these
      useless old men open his mouth again. We shall slap them as irresponsible elders who tell lies.
      If Buhari wants to try us too let him make the mistake of NOT arresting General T. Y Danjuma,
      Aliko Dangote, Bukola Saraki, Toyin Saraki, David Mark and their fellow criminals doing this
      money-laundering inside Panama. That is when Buhari will know the Nigerian youths.

      • fxmarkets

        Thieves in bespoke suit and flowing gowns are fully in control of this damned un-federal republic.

        Nigeria is a country ruled by thieves. Until that decisive fact is understood there will be no solution.

        The thieves create illusion by wearing different jersey as APC and PDP but remain thieves all the same.

        • Toyin

          Good write up. PDP alias Association of Failed Criminals and APC alias Association of Passed Criminals. They are the same. Wicked and ungodly, set of people. PMB is dancing nicked now as those drug barons and criminals around told him that he will continue in 2019. He has lost focus. Is it not God that owns tomorrow talk-less of 2019?

        • TrueNja

          You’re totally correct.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Buhari’s friends are probably involved,Danjuma has been implicated,he opened accounts off shore while he was serving and even as defence boss on Obasanjos democratic presidency,he did not declare those stashed away funds and today he is still working for Buhari in the north. BUHARI WILL PRETEND THE PANAMA FILES DOES NOT EXIST BECAUSE MANY OF HIS SACRED COW FRIENDS ARE INVOLVED.

    • Jacky

      Did Danjuma declare those assets when he worked for Jonathan as the Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee? You pretend to suffer from amnesia.

      • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

        When he worked for OBJ as defence minister is what we are after not when he was a member of any committee.

  • Adesokan Adams

    Editor,

    Please can you broadcast your news on radio. There is no electricity to do internet in Nigeria.

    If you can broadcast it on FM we have batteries on our radio that can carry it. Thank you sir.

    • alikali

      BEFORE Panama Papers became the issue: THIS IS ALL WE KNEW…

      • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spending.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police
      guards in one year.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
      for charter service.
      • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
      • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦1.97billion was paid out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
      expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦20billion was paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons unknown.
      • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido as expense ostensibly to promote
      Central Bank image.

      • Godwin

        THAT FRAUD AT CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA IS THE FIRST PANAMA PAPER. Hahahahaha!

      • TrueNja

        How much CBN cash Sanusi doled out to his mistress Mrs. Yero?

    • I no dey there!

      • “Shocking details emerged
      from the recently presented 2016 budget that the executive arm
      of Buhari’s government will spend the lion share of N5.87 trillion or about
      96.5 per cent of the total N6.1 trillion. Then, about N205 billion (or 3.5 per
      cent) goes to the other arms of government. The Legislature and the Judiciary will
      get N115 billion and N90 billion respectively. The breakdown of the budget also
      indicates that the federal government intends to spend N39 billion in running
      the Office of the President (Buhari) with major allocations going to car purchase
      at N3.9 billion; and, another N189 million to change tyres for specified vehicles in
      the Presidency.”

      ………….NIGERIA BULLETIN

  • Olusegun Adekoya

    Make una wait as the list is still unfolding. At the end of the day its possible the president and his cronies would be named as well.. what has been released is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Toyin

    Another useless Civil society group headed by UKAEGBU whose job is only
    to make noise every time no actions. Leave national assembly Saraki will
    be removed. Mark,Danjuma, Dangote other will be prosecuted according to
    the laws of our country.
    What is your useless Civil Society doing about the failure of the government on Fuel supply and power? Total blackout in the land. Nonsense.

  • Gobi9

    This will be the true test of Buhari’s character and much boasted integrity. If he fails to act, the Jerry Rawlings treatment will not be too far. for Nigerian leaders and politicians.

  • Otile

    As far as Imam is concerned the panama leaks are moribund. He already swore by the Holy Qur-an that Abacha stole no money. How can he now admit that those billions stashed away by his boss are real? Seeing how tribalistic Imam is does anybody expect him to probe his tribesman Aliko Dangote? Yakubu Danjuma on the other hand is a member of his inner circle, ex general, and one of those who brought Imam to power. If Imam can kill his conscience and appoint Rotimi Oyenusi ati Alhaji Fashola, how do you expect him to do the right thing and recover this huge money for Nigeria? By failing to do justice Buhari and many other selfish corrupt officials are unpatriotic. They are only there to milk the country at the detriment of the masses.

  • TrueNja

    President Buhari is selective in his war against corruption He has no aorta of integrity in his DNA. Majority of his inner friends and sponsors are on the list, he dare not probe them.

  • omoagbala60

    This exposure is a ready tool for PMB to probe and recover the loots from these bastards. To do otherwise, amounts to shying away from a winnable fight. Kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria. David and fellow leeches have been taking the country for a ride for the longest time; this is a golden opportunity our Senior Advocate of the Mentally ill [SAMI] will not be able to circumvent through bribing judges and legal jerry-meandering.