Buhari promoting corruption by receiving defectors with corruption cases – Jonathan


Despite efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari’s led All Progressives Congress (APC) Government to combat corruption, the country according to an APC Stalwart, Jonathan Vatsa, is nose diving. He therefore suggests that Nigeria needs a new and stronger approach to apprehend those who have stolen money. He spoke to DANIEL ATORI about introducing new features into the country’s currencies to put an end to corruption

During the 2015 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to defeat terrorism, fight corruption and fix the economy. What would be your assessment so far?

So far, the country is experiencing a worse security challenges; corrupt persons are being embraced and given red carpet reception. As an APC member, my assessment is that we have not fulfilled the promises made to Nigerians. Mr. President is surrounded by corrupt persons who of course are probably thwarting his efforts in his war against corruption.

But the government claims to be fighting corruption…

Yes! But is it succeeding or has the fight against corruption been won? No, I think Mr. President needs to change his approach and come up with new tactics. In fact, I have a suggestion for him (President Buhari). It’s my candid opinion and I believe that if he tries it, he will achieve substantive results in the fight against corruption and of course tackle banditry and kidnappings.

What would that be, because even those who have corruption charges levelled against them are being received into the APC by Mr President himself?

You see, Nigerians are voicing their frustrations after voting in the APC and President Buhari, during the 2015 and 2019 general elections. President Buhari promised to fight corruption, defeat terrorism and fix the economy but till this moment the country’s economy is going downhill and corrupt individuals are not being apprehended rather they are being received into the system that should have brought them to book

Are you talking about defectors or it cuts across all parties and sectors?

It cuts across; there are corrupt APC members too, there are others who are non-partisan that were used to syphon money: oth politicians and non-politicians. Truly, the issue of APC and PDP which are the major parties can be likened to the story of Cain and Abel in the Holy Bible from the same parents. One’s offering was accepted and the other was not accepted by God. The bottom line is that they are from the same parents. Mr. President should stop receiving defectors, people are dying of hunger and insecurity has taken over most parts of the country. In fact one of his main responsibilities is security and not to receive defectors who should be facing corruption charges. Someone who has corruption charges against him was even made a minister by President Buhari. So, how can he fight the corruption war when you have people who are corrupt around him? If it is to receive defectors and not to protect the lives and properties of the people then we (APC) have failed. We should apologise to Nigerians that we are sorry. If Nigerians can’t eat three times a day as we promised them, then we have failed.

But the President said he is fixing the economy and fighting corruption…

Look, let me say this, if Mr. President has forgotten, I still have the records and the tapes of what he promised when he came to Niger State during his campaigns, so that he can listen to what he said. He promised to fix the roads in Niger State but trailers and tankers block roads and people are stranded every day. It is only in the era of our party (APC) that I heard that articulated vehicles block roads in Niger. So, tell me what is he fixing and how has it translated to tackling corruption.

But is it wrong for him to receive defectors who believe in him and your party?

This is laughable! The rate at which Mr President is receiving defectors is also an act of corruption. It shows that the President is promoting corruption. Receiving those who are termed as corrupt or are facing corruption charges into the APC is likened to corruption. He should have been receiving the military and other security personnel who were wounded while battling with terrorists; policemen attacked by bandits or students who are doing innovations – construction cars, aeroplanes and are good in technology and not politicians who have corruption cases hanging on their necks and are looking for safe haven. People around him should tell him the truth. Receiving defectors is not a national programme, that’s not what he promised Nigerians. It is the poor people who voted for him that are suffering today. Those who were saying ‘Sai Baba’ are those dying of hunger, being attacked and killed by bandits and unknown Gunmen. The rate of stealing and corruption has gone high. Prices of food items have skyrocketed; cooking gas that was less than N4,000 for 12.5kg now sells for over N7000.

What new suggestions would you want Mr President to apply?

Firstly, Mr. President should stop listening to people who will not tell him the truth; they are just singing his praises and feeding him with lies. All is not well with Nigeria. If the fight against corruption is not yielding results, Buhari should change his tactics. And I will suggest he changes the colour and some features of the currencies and an order be passed that everyone should go to the bank to change their currencies within a space of three weeks. He should try this because he wants to fight corruption to the barest minimum. He promised Nigerians that he will fight corruption but from all indication the corruption fight is not yielding the desired results. He should order the change of the features in all the currency notes especially the colours and everyone should take their money to any commercial banks and have them changed within 20 days. President Buhari should swap the colour of N20 and N1000 notes.

The new N1000 note should have the national green colour and the N1000 colour should go to the N20 note. Also, N500 note should be changed to N50 and vice versa. This is because Mr. President needs to fight corruption both within and without. The reason he is not winning the fight against corruption is because he is looking only outside. There’s much corruption inside too. I am giving him these candid suggestions; he should order that in 21 days which is three weeks the colours of the currencies be swapped and then we will see those who are hiding money in their houses, farms and various places. This will also help in fighting banditry because wherever they have stashed or hidden money, they will bring it out. All those who have collected money from those they abducted would bring the money out for changing and that way, they can be apprehended. The armed bandits and kidnappers will have to go to banks to change theirs too. I am very sure this suggestion would help Mr President to tackle corruption and to an extent he will achieve result. He is finding it difficult to fight corruption because it is both inward and outward.

So many approaches have been carried out; do you think this will not be seen as another failed attempt?

Not at all, the programmes will be successful especially now that the Bureau de Change (BDCs) no longer have the kind of power they had. Because if it were to be when the BDCs were functioning powerfully, these corrupt persons who have hoarded and hidden stolen funds somewhere would quickly rush to them to change to foreign currencies. I am urging Mr. President to try this option and see how he will tackle this corruption and recover looted funds in less than a month. Even if he doesn’t win in totality, he will achieve over substantial percentage.

What about those who have their money already saved in the banks?

For those who have their money in their bank accounts they don’t have issues at all because their financial standings are none already. The banks will change theirs to the new colours.

So, how would that help in apprehending those who are corrupt?

For those corrupt ones who stole and are hiding the money, they will have no choice than to bring them out to change them to the new notes. That way, financial crimes agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other government financial crime agencies can beam their searchlights on these corrupt individuals who have sapped our country and brought us to this low level. The target is those who have stolen the commonwealth of the common people of Nigeria. We should be after those with our stolen money.

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