Knocks as Buhari says he hasn’t done too badly

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President Muhammadu Buhari

…Court okays suit seeking CCT chair’s removal, over Bribery charges***

The Peoples Democratic Party, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Campaign for Democracy on Sunday knocked President Muhammadu Buhari for saying he had not done badly, as well as blaming past leaders for the poor state of the economy.

The President had on Sunday said considering the condition in which his administration met the country allegedly without savings and the economy vandalised; “we have not done too badly.”

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving some members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation, led by Mr. Charles Sylvester.

Buhari noted that Nigeria was gifted with human and natural resources, but regretted that past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s resources to improve the lot of Nigerians.

“Failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people,” the President said.

He added that those he described as wicked people plundered the country “and kept Nigerians poor.”

Buhari said the damage done to the Nigerian economy in the years of plunder was massive, adding that the government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.

“If they had used 50 per cent of the money made when oil prices were as high as $143 per barrel and stabilised at $100, with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their business.

“The stealing was so much and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly. I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country,” the President said.

He commended members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation for deciding to identify with the country when they could have stayed abroad where they were comfortable.

“I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused; we will do our best to justify it,” Buhari said.

Sylvester was quoted as saying that members of the group were happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far.

He said the same God who healed the President when he was sick would grant him victory in 2019.

He said, “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account.

“We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy general. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy.

“The same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals.

“We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure.”

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, the leave to commence a suit seeking the removal of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar.

Justice Binta Nyako, after granting leave to the group to commence the suit, fixed May 21 for mention.

The group, had through its lawyer, Mr. Okere Nnamdi, on February 16, 2018, filed an ex parte application seeking the court’s permission to commence the suit, following the bribery charges filed against the CCT chairman by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The ex parte motion was filed alongside the main suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/172/18.

The suit sought an order of mandamus, compelling President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to perform their constitutional duties by commencing the process of removing the CCT chairman.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal; Danladi Umar; President Buhari; the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Assembly were joined in the suit as the first to the fifth respondents, respectively.

Upon hearing the plaintiff’s lawyer, Okere, on March 27, 2018, Justice Nyako, granted the leave.

The certified true copy of the court order released to the plaintiff on April 11, 2014 was sighted by our correspondent on Sunday.

It read in part, “That leave is granted to the plaintiff to commence action for judicial review of administrative action/inaction against the 3rd to 5th  defendants in this suit by way of mandamus against the said defendants to compel the 3rd and 5th defendants to perform their constitutional mandate and obligation under Paragraph 17 (3) of the fifth schedule, part 1 to the 1999 Constitution which has similar provisions with section 22 (3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunals Act…”

The EFCC, had through a private lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), on February 2, 2018, filed the bribery charges against the CCT chairman before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The prosecution in the case marked, CR/109/18, accused Umar of demanding N10m as favour from a defendant standing trial before the CCT, Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo, in 2012.

The anti-corruption agency accused Umar of receiving, through his personal assistant, Alhaji Gambo Abdullahi, the sum of N1.8m out of the N10m demanded from Taiwo in the same year.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 12(1)(a) & (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003.

The Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International in its suit filed before the Federal High Court to declare that the CCT, which he leads, “was established to enforce the code of conduct for public officers and preside over cases of those accused and charged with failing to maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business and for having failed to conform to the highest standard of public morality and accountability.”

Punch