Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s political party said this week it fully supports the leader’s plan to probe former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, after the United States allegedly provided Buhari with the names of corrupt Nigerian government officials. The ruling All Progressives Congress said a responsible government was one that does not turn a blind eye to graft, even that of a former president, according to local media reports.
“Some people have insinuated that the Buhari administration should ignore the massive looting of our patrimony and move on. We say no responsible government can afford to do that, because it will amount to endorsing corruption and impunity,” the All Progressives Congress national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, said in a written statement Tuesday, according to online news platform Pulse Nigeria. “Against the background of the stunning revelations, what message will any government be sending to its citizens and indeed the global community by looking the other way, when it could still recover some of the looted funds for the benefit of the people? This is why we are supporting the Buhari Administration’s probe decision, and calling on all Nigerians to support ongoing efforts to get to the root of the matter.”
The Obama administration last week allegedly gave Buhari the names of Nigerian oil thieves who have been stealing and illegally stockpiling the West African nation’s oil. Two unnamed sources within Buhari’s administration told Nigerian newspaper the Punch that the list of names included top Nigerian government officials and that the president was planning to a comprehensive investigation. The sources hinted the names could prompt Buhari to investigate Jonathan’s government, which was widely accused of corruption.
In the oil sector alone, Buhari said $150 billion was believed to have been looted by crooked politicians and that 250,000 barrels of crude oil were stolen in Nigeria each day. Before traveling to the White House in Washington last week, the Nigerian leader had asked Obama to help locate and return the stolen funds, according to Bloomberg.
Jonathan’s political faction, the Peoples Democratic Party, said it backs Buhari’s war on corruption, even if it includes the investigation of their members. However, the opposition party said Buhari should not ignore the impunity of current officials and a fair and formal legal process must follow any accusations, according to Leadership newspaper.
Linus Okorie, a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, urged the Nigerian president to acknowledge and respect the accomplishments of the previous administration, including strides made against corruption and the Boko Haram terror group. If Buhari decides to go ahead with the probe, Okorie said, he should expect similar treatment from his predecessor.
"Just like the opposition must be constructive in criticizing the government in power, the sitting government owes its predecessor, itself and the wider Nigerian public the moral and social duty of acknowledging the positive accomplishments of their predecessors," Okorie said Wednesday in Ebonyi state capital Abakaliki, according to Vanguard News.