SULTAN TO BUHARI: STAMP OUT CORRUPTION WITHOUT MERCY

*Don’t go after politicians’ mothers like Obasanjo – Kalu

The new Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, also the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslim, sits on his throne during his coronation ceremony in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, March 3, 2007. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA) - RTR1N1ZM

Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar on Monday asked President Mohammadu Buhari to go all out and prosecute his anti-corruption war without reservation, while counting on the unalloyed support of the nation’s traditional institution.

But former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, also advised him to refrain from acting with impunity like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who went about chasing governors’ mothers in place of their sons, who had immunity, even while applying the hardest weapons in the anti-corruption war.

The eminent monarch, who was the royal father of the day at the security summit, held by the Nigeria Police, in conjunction with the Sun Publishing Company (SPC), while reeling out the havoc corruption and graft had done to the society, told the President to be merciless against anyone found to be culpable in looting the treasury of the country.

The Sultan, a member of the National Peace Committee (NPC), led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, whose comment while visiting Buhari, last week, has continued been generating a lot of controversy.

The committee, according to its spokesman, Bishop Mathew Kukah, had enjoined the President to apply caution in the manner he went about the fight, in order not to be seen to be intimidating his opponents, since the country was no longer under a military rule, but democracy.

The position, was immediately interpreted in some quarters as an attempt to throw a leash of the President’s agenda and shield certain people from probe and prosecution, especially as Kukah, the next day accentuated the comment by telling the President, to concentrate on governance, while carrying on the war.

The monarch, who was quite emphatic in his comment, apparently to clarify the position of the committee, made up of eminent Nigerians, said: “Mr. President, we are 100 per cent in support of your fight against corruption. And it is our believe that anyone found guilty will not only have his assets seized and forfeited to government, but also face jail sentences.

He traced anti-corruption as one of the basic tenets of the traditional institution, citing how it was greatly frowned at for the royal institution in the caliphate to accept gifts from the populace, in order not to be contaminated or mortgaged.

Kalu, apparently refering to the incident of attempted arrest of his mother by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), when as governor, he was having a serious disagreement with Obasanjo, again reminded the President on the need not to apply any form of vendetta in prosecuting the war, even while encouraging him to apply the hardest punishment allowed by law in going after offenders.

Advising him to avoid the pitfalls of the past, where his predecessors went against political opponents and those who disagreed with him, Kalu, who spoke as chairman of the SPC, said: “I want to tell Mr. President that his fight against corruption, needs to be with the heaviest ammunition, not with empty gloves, but very hard gloves.

“Do not pursue corruption the way some of your predecessors pursued corruption – corruption of fighting individuals that have not done anything. Anybody, no matter his ethnic, colour, or person that is involved in corruption, should not be spared. Corruption in the past has been fought based on political disagreements. Corruption in the past has been fought because you don’t like our face. Mr. President, don’t focus on catching any governor’s mother. If you cannot catch a governor because he has immunity, please don’t catch his mother.”

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