Former national vice president (South West) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ishola Filani has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his anti-corruption crusade beyond former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and probe past military regimes.
Filani, who was former chairman of Wema Bank Plc, also urged Buhari to take his anti-graft war to the civil service and the private sector, especially commercial banks.
“He (Buhari) should not continue to give the impression that only politicians are corrupt. Why should he be limiting the anti-corruption war to one civilian regime? Why can’t he probe those military officers who were involved in corruption during military regimes?
“Are they telling us that those military officers, who ruled Nigeria for over 27 years, were saints? If they were saints, we would want to learn how they were able to do it without engaging in any form of corruption.
“If we are not assuming that they are saints, then, this corruption probe should be extended to them,” he said, in reaction to the Presidency’s allocation of N31.1 billion to fight corruption this year.
The PDP chieftain noted that there was no way anybody in government could steal public money without connivance of people in the private sector.
“And, the private sector are made up of the multinational companies, private companies, including banks.
“If you want to fight corruption, the evil being perpetrated outside Nigeria are even more than what is going on within us here.
“More than 70 percent of the money these people stole are through multinational companies, the private sector and so on. And, these monies are lodged abroad,” he added.
Filani, a lawyer and former national publicity secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said if the federal government wants to fight corruption, it has to touch all those areas.
Assessing the war critically, he asked rhetorically, “how many banks have been closed? How many bank chiefs have been jailed?
“How many military military officers have been probed and punished?”
According to him, if the war on corruption will succeed, “the Buhari-led administration must change its method of executing the war, because the current method of being selective would fail.
Filani said the idea of arresting somebody who stole billions of naira, releasing him on bail after paying some money will only increase corruption in the nearest future.
Such method, he pointed out, would make people steal more money with the belief that once they are caught, they would spend part of it on litigation and part on plea-bargaining and get away with the rest.