We have offended many of our greedy elite, presidency reacts to Umar’s criticism

The presidency has said the anti-corruption efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration has offended many “greedy and frustrated” elite.

Reacting to the criticism of the anti-corruption campaign by Dangiwa Umar, a retired colonel and social activist, the presidency said he (Umar) was not in a position to make accusations.

Umar had accused the federal government of being selective in its anti-corruption crusade and had also called for the release of Sambo Dasuki, a former national security adviser (NSA) who has been in detention since November 2015.

Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, in a statement issued on Monday, warned that the Buhari administration would neither succumb to media attacks nor would it be deterred by false accusations.

“The war against corruption is here to stay. As long as President Buhari is in power, Nigerians can rest assured of that. It will not succumb to media attacks. It will not be deterred by false accusations. It will not be quenched by disgruntled elements,” he said.

He noted that the Buhari administration has become quite familiar with the barrage of verbal attacks that have accompanied its determined war against corruption.

“A number of Nigeria’s elite, uncomfortable with the disruption of business as usual, have fought viciously, usually via the media.

“However, this comment, coming from Umar, is highly disappointing. Because he is not in a position to label accusations. He should, instead, allow other to do this.

“Curiously, despite the various accusations and media attacks, no one has so far come forth with any evidence of President Buhari’s selectiveness in the war against corruption,” he said.

Shehu challenged anyone or organisation with any evidence of bias or partiality in the fight against corruption to make it public

He stated that all the agencies involved in the war against corruption were allowed freedom to carry out their responsibilities, without any interference whatsoever from the presidency.

“If Umar or anyone else feels that they have any evidence to the contrary, they are encouraged to make this public. Ultimately, the final frontier of the war against corruption is the judiciary.

“After the anti-graft agencies have gathered proof of corruption and made arrests, they present the accused before competent courts of the land, who have the final say on who is guilty of corruption and who is not,” he said.

Shehu maintained that President Buhari had never interfered with the judicial process, despite publicly expressing his frustration with how slowly corruption cases were handled.

“Again, anyone with a shred of evidence to the contrary is encouraged to go public with it. A number of Nigerian elites have over the years benefitted from various forms of corruption, including monthly payouts from the office of previous National Security Advisers.

“Let me clarify that this is not in reference to Colonel Umar in particular. The Buhari administration has offended so many of our greedy elite by putting a stop to this, plugging many of the holes through which our country’s resources, belonging to each and every one of us, were looted by a few.

“Naturally, these elites are frustrated. But we shall not allow them to frustrate the war against corruption,” he said.