*Says result of Magu’s probe would shock all
Mallam Garba Shehu has emphatically declared that President Muhammadu Buhari is fully in control of the country.
The presidential spokesman was reacting to critics who have been saying the president has lost his grip on the affairs of the country.
He accused those saying so of being unmindful of their words, adding that such comments is like the opposition’s “fallacious position that the president is not in charge of his government”.
Shehu while agreeing that Nigerians are bound to have differing opinions on issues, he said some of their comments promote the agenda of the opposition whom he said ruined the country “during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale”.
According to him, “The Presidency wishes to respond to a number of opinion articles and a stringent newspaper editorial this Sunday, which outrageously said President Muhammadu Buhari was not in control of his administration.
“What is sometimes worrisome is that several of these comments, disguised as objective criticisms are merely speaking the language of the opposition-the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.
“Sometimes, we are forced to wonder whether some writers are mindful of the implication of words for the strategic and territorial interests of the nation.
“The fact that these baseless and appallingly mischievous attacks can freely be aired is itself evidence of the right to freedom of expression prevailing in the country today.
“Whether it is Ibrahim Magu, Godswill Akpabio, NDDC, NSITF and the others, Nigerians are bound to hold differing opinions, write letters, opinion columns, editorials and even stage lawful protests.
“These detractors pick up isolated issues like the ones in the EFCC, NDDC, and incidents of crime and corruption which have been with the country for years, and without any serious effort to uncover them, paint them a phenomena orchestrated and happening because President Buhari’s administration has decided to pursue cases of suspected wrongdoing in the anti-corruption agency, pension funds, NDDC and other government agencies.
“But the government was the first to point out the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by the EFCC leadership would cause the administration. The question to ask is: did they expect the President to draw a curtain over these suspected scandals by not ordering audits and investigations? And for them to turn around to accuse him of a cover-up?
“To do a cover-up and not order audits and investigations as the President did would amount to a historic betrayal of the mandate and the faith placed in him by the Nigerian people.”
Shehu said other nations have recognised the president as the champion of the anti-corruption fight in Africa.
“President Buhari’s integrity, uprightness and probity are intact and well known. Let us remind these so-called editorial writers that ECOWAS, Africa Union and the international community at large recognized President Buhari as Champion of the Anti-Corruption fight in Africa.
“Nigerians are convinced that he is honest. They voted for him as President against the background of corruption, public policy paralysis and growing menace of terrorists threatening to take over a sizable portion of the nation’s territory. In his five years in office, there is not a single charge of corruption against his person.
“The Buhari government has done nothing to warrant these criticisms. Under our laws, you are innocent until proven guilty: Investigation, trial then conviction. Not the other way round. To carry out investigations before condemnation or conviction should not be misconstrued as a weakness or a vacuum in leadership.”
On the ongoing probe of Ibrahim Magu, the former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Shehu said Nigerians to be prepared for surprises.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, he said the presidency had been receiving some updates from the panel, adding that the findings would surprise Nigerians.
“I guess this is a question for the Justice Ayo Salami panel and I must say that panel is composed of some of this country’s most honoured people with integrity who will do the right thing.
“I am not going to pre-empt the panel investigation but I just advice Nigerians to hold their hearts in their hands. By the time they are done with this job and they come out with the reports prepare yourselves for surprises.
“I don’t know what will come out but if the sense we are getting from what is being done over there is anything to go by, I think that Nigerians should not be confused by any outbursts by anybody.”