The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, an anti-corruption group, has called on the Nigerian government to commence immediate investigations into the “gruesome revelations” contained in the #PanamaPapers offshore assets series published by PREMIUM TIMES.
The group also said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, should resign from office and surrender himself to federal authorities for prosecution.
In a statement signed by Debo Adeniran, CACOL ‘s executive chairman, the group said the government’s “indifference” to the scandal was “worrisome and repugnant”.
“The Nigerian government’s attitude to the gruesome revelations from the Panama Papers leaks becomes worrisome and repugnant, as the attitude is apparently lackadaisical and indifferent,” Mr. Adeniran said.
Mr. Adeniran lamented that the Nigerian government’s failure was unacceptable because several other world leaders caught in the same scandal have been turning in their resignation letters.
“When in other places, heads of the ‘mighty’ have ‘rolled’ over the Panama papers leaks, (notably in Iceland where the Prime Minister was forced to resign from office following protests by Icelanders) the Nigerian government’s reaction or better put inaction and insensitivity over the Panama papers is unacceptable and reprehensible,” the group said.
Mr. Adeniran warned that any failure by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to immediately address the situation will not augur well for the much-touted anti corruption drive of his administration.
“With such a lackadaisical or indifferent attitude on the part of government toward global issues like the Panama Papers leak especially when so-called leaders from Nigeria are mentioned in the scam, the celebrated anti-corruption drive of the government and the anti-corruption poise of the present regime may as well just be described as a ‘ruse’.”
Mr. Adeniran, therefore, demanded that the federal government should launch a far-reaching investigation into the scandal and bring all those found culpable to book.
“Consequently, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL is demanding that a special attention should be paid by the Federal government and the anti-corruption agencies to the revelations from the leaks with a goal of acting on them and with the view of verifying the facts; carrying out investigations, probing, prosecuting and recovering all the loots stolen from our Commonwealth that are hidden in the tax havens and offshore companies.
“Additionally, those found culpable must be punished accordingly no matter how ‘highly’ placed or influential they are in the society. Those specifically mentioned; Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd), Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr. James Ibori, Senator David Mark must be invited by the anti-corruption agencies; interrogated and prosecuted if enough evidence and facts confirm their involvement in the global scam revealed in the Panama Papers.”
Mr. Adeniran said Mr. Saraki has disgraced the country and must resign from office, failure of which Nigerians should rally their lawmakers to commence impeachment proceedings against him.
“Dr. Bukola Saraki, the sitting Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly with all his baggage of corruption charges is, once again, topping the charts in the Panama Papers.
“This is totally disgraceful and very tarnishing for the image of the country and calls for drastic action of government and good people of Nigeria. Saraki, who is currently facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on a thirteen-count charge, on the bases of corruption and false assets declaration is reported to have continued receiving salaries even after leaving office as Governor in Kwara state and used state funds to pay for private properties.”
“With the addition of the Panama Papers indictment to his ‘multi-coloured coat’ of corruption, it is time for Nigerians to call for Saraki to step down as Senate President and as Chairman of the National Assembly pending when he has successfully cleared his name and clean the ‘smears’ all over him.
“If he fails to resign, Nigerians must rally and mandate their representatives in their various constituencies to commence his impeachment process of based on moral and ethical grounds.
“Nigeria cannot be respected among the comity of nations if the Head of the Law Making Body, the third in hierarchy in the leadership of the country oscillates between being a corruption criminal suspect in the criminal suspects’ box at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and as the Chairman of the National Assembly and while also ranking very high amongst those mentioned in the gruesome global scams activities revealed in the Panama Papers leaks.”
“The Nigerian Government must seek and ensure that James Ibori, after serving his term in the UK prison is repatriated to Nigeria to answer for the charges against previously and his involvement in the Panama Papers scam.”