EO6, not political weapon against political opponents, says Presidency
The Presidency says the Executive Order 6 is not a political weapon against opposition but part of revolutionary efforts to rid Nigeria of the menace of corruption.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
The presidential aide was reacting to cross section of divergent views on the commencement of the implementation of the EO6 by the federal government.
According to him, in the history of independent Nigeria, this is the first time any government is taking such a key decision to fight corruption.
Shehu dismissed the insinuation in some quarters that the activation of the EO6 was targeted at some individuals or politicians in the country.
He said, “EO6 is not only revolutionary to the efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption but a manifestation of systemic changes that are required to make necessary adjustments as we carry on with the war against corruption.
“The very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases. The order is not politics and there is political gain behind its activation. These high profile cases we are talking about have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight. These cases were mostly originated by administrations other than this one”.
“What is clear is that the access to these resources by the suspects has enabled them to be in a composition to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial.’’
He further explained that, in most of the cases, the courts were held in a helpless position by legal acrobatics paid for from corrupt enrichment by the suspects.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the new measures put in place would compel everyone involved to make for a speedy conclusion of these cases.
“If it is your money, you have it back. If it belongs to the public, it goes back to the treasury,’’ he said.
Shehu added that the question of the constitutionality of the restriction order had been answered by the fact that “a court of the land has given government a clean chit. The Executive Order is legal and constitutional and therefore implementable. One of the cardinal objectives of the government under our constitution is to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is a responsibility and obligation upon the government,’’ he further maintained.
On the so-called list of those affected by the EO6, the presidential aide said, “I want to confirm to you that we have not issued any list and we are not doing so. These cases that are well known and to say this or that name is on it will open the door to further accusations, including trial by media”.
“The Immigration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement and they will do so giving due respects to individual rights, in line with the constitution.’’
It would be recalled that the presidency had on Saturday announced that following the implementation of the EO 6, 50 prominent personalities (whose names were not stated) were placed on a watch-list and, therefore, restricted from leaving the country pending the determination of their cases.
The order seeks to restrain owners of assets under investigation from carrying out any further transaction on such assets.
But, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had condemned the activation of the EO6, saying the federal government’s ban of 50 Nigerians from travelling abroad was a direct clampdown on democratic order.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, issued a statement on Sunday describing the restriction as an attempt by the Buhari administration to foist a full-blown fascism on the country.
He said, “We hope this is not a ploy to harm certain eminent Nigerians on the claims of resisting travel restrictions. The PDP further notes that this “decree” is a direct clampdown on our democratic order and an overthrow of rights of our citizenry as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”