Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, has stressed that there is “absolutely no compromise in the war against corruption” and the president will not stop anybody from being prosecuted where it becomes necessary.
He said while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, in response to comments trailing the sack of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke on Monday.
While some hold the opinion that prosecuting the officials would have been a more suitable sanction for the offences they allegedly committed, the President’s aid explained that if the need arose for them to be prosecuted then the president had no power to prevent that from happening.
“You don’t expect the President who is holding two democratic values to ask judges or prosecutors to do this or that.
“The president has done his own part; the administrative action has been taken by him now the next stage is that it is the various agencies of government that will now carry forth.
“The investigation agencies in the country, ICPC, EFCC and others are already into these matters, they are already investigating those things and the President is saying go ahead, do your own investigation without any hinderance – this is the way they have always operated.
“In the cause of their continued investigation, if they have any matters they come across that are prosecutable, the president will not stop anybody from being prosecuted. Under the constitution, the president cannot stop anybody from being investigated or prosecuted.”
Explaining why the case took so long before the President could take a critical decision, Mr Garba said:
“He probably needed to get a few things done and as I said looking at various options and various senerios as the leader of this country, you have all of the intellectual opinion available in this country at your own disposal and so therefore the president must be given the right to seek the best and act in the best interest of the country.”
Furthermore, he expressed satisfaction with the decision saying that it would go a long way in settling the issues of “partisan politics” as raised by critics of the Buhari administration.
“I think this has settled a very important question, among those who oppose us and even among those who support us because they need arguments to counter attacks from those that are opposed to our own position to be empowered with the facts and knowledge so that they are able to speak for the administration.
“I think this matter settles squarely all of those questions about this war against corruption being a partisan one and that it is those who are close to the president that are being spared, no. I think this has done it for us.
The presidential aide also expressed hope that the government will in no time, release the report of the panel set up the investigate the cases.
“We leave that to the discretion of the President but he has been given the report and he has commenced action on it and I do hope that at some point government will be releasing this report but whether or not the report will be released in full, I still insist that it should be left to the discretion of the President.”