The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) says the trial of former Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, has demonstrated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the fight against corruption.
BMO Chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the trial has proved that the Buhari administration was not only interested in probing officials of past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in the country.
“The trial of the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winnifred Oyo-Ita and the arrest of a former Presidential Aide, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, is positive proof of the commitment of the Buhari administration to a successful war against corruption.
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“This is contrary to claims by opposition elements that the federal government has only been going after officials of past PDP administrations,” Akinsiju said.
He said that the trial was also a clear message to Nigerians with corruption tendencies, regardless of political affiliation.
“Nigerians have over the years seen how PDP elements have sought to rubbish the anti-graft credentials of Buhari and his administration by selling a false impression of selective prosecution to the unsuspecting public.
“But yet again, this government is showing that it would not tolerate corrupt practices on its watch so soon after the trial of former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal began over an N500 million grass-cutting scandal.
“Now, another one-time senior official of Buhari administration, Oyo-Ita, is before a Federal High Court in Abuja to answer for her alleged indiscretion.
“Some of the allegations stemmed from her previous roles as Director and Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service before her appointment as Head of Service,” BMO chairman said.
According to him, Oyo-Ita is on trial for fraud alongside her Special Assistant Mr Ubong Okon Effiok and some companies, in which she is believed to have interests, in relation to Duty Tour Allowances (DTA), estacodes and conference fees’ fraud.
“As well as receiving kickbacks from contractors in various Ministries and Parastatals where she worked.
“Even-though Oyo-Ita’s trial has only opened in court, the fact that Nigeria’s immediate past foremost civil servant is in the dock is proof that this President is not only interested in the reckless past of the PDP era, but also in acts of corruption that may have been perpetrated under his watch,” he added.
He added that the recent arrest of the suspended chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, was also a pointer to the fact that the Buhari administration was not selective in the fight against corruption.
“Here is one man that described himself as a loyalist of Buhari and even claimed at a point that he was being persecuted for his loyalty to the President’s cause.
“But this didn’t stop the ICPC from declaring him wanted and when he failed to make himself available to clear himself on allegations of corruption, he was arrested by the anti-corruption body.
“This is by all accounts an unprecedented move, especially as certain elements had claimed that the government was playing to the gallery by declaring the former Presidential aide wanted when it could have taken him in.
“Incidentally since his arrest by anti-graft officials last Friday, the naysayers have been quiet, but we are sure that like others before him, Obono-Obla will have his day in court especially as he had once claimed from hiding, that he was never given an opportunity to be heard,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to disregard all allegations of skewed or lop-sided prosecution of corruption cases by the Buhari administration.