By Ed Malik, A | November 4, 2022
Prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Friday, urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to sack ministers and other government officials undermining the war against corruption if he wants his anti-corruption crusade seriously on the international scene.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said there was no need for the President to keep any minister or government official he has no confidence in or that a body like the National Assembly is deemed as irredeemably corrupt.
Also, the minister of education Adamu Adamu, who reportedly admitted failure as a minister has been asked by HURIWA to resign immediately and refund all the salaries and allowances paid to him by the taxpayers since his appointment about seven years ago.
Recall that the House of Representatives on Wednesday accused some of Buhari’s appointees of undermining the government’s efforts to fight corruption in the country.
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Wole Oke, who gave the reprimand during the 2023 budget defence with Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, called out the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Nwabueze; and the Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan.
Oke spoke against the backdrop of disclosure by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Andrew Onwudili, that his office proposed a total budget of N11.151 billion for 2023 which the Budget Office slashed to N5.112 billion.
“We have seen the determination of the lieutenants of Mr. President, particularly the Minister of Finance, the D-G, Budget Office to undermine Mr. President in his determination to wage war against corruption on the land.
“Otherwise, why would you allocate several billions to ancillary institutions and you are giving N62 million to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to fund capital? They have to go cap in hand to pay workers?” the committee chairman fumed.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is perplexing how that the name of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, is popping up in not-so-good contexts. The House of Representatives has publicly accused her and others of undermining anti-corruption fight.
“Just days ago, President Buhari and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele sidelined her office to announce the controversial redesign of naira notes. This can only mean something: The President has lost confidence in her leading that ministry.
“The finance minister should know when to leave, especially in the face of insults thrown at her office. HURIWA recalls that under Ahmed, then Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, allegedly stole N109 billion and is now being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“It is unthinkable that the President is yet to fire the finance minister for alleged recklessness and dereliction of duty and now, these damning allegations! One begins to wonder whether the anti-graft war of President Buhari is alive at all! A leader must not only exercise appointing powers but ability to fire hands that no longer do the job. Unfortunately, Buhari continues to compensate incompetence by retaining incapable hands and this continues to impact hugely on the Nigerian economy.”