Traders under the aegis of South-East Amalgamated Market Traders Association (SEAMATA) have passed a vote-of-confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption and corrupt practices.
The position was contained in a statement issued and jointly signed by SEAMATA’s President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and its Secretary-General, Chief Alex Okwudili, today in Enugu.
The statement was titled, “Anti-Corruption Crusade Must be Prosecuted without Sentiments,’’ said SEAMATA encourages the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), not to be distracted by social media and fake news publications, but to make the fight against corruption evidence-based.
According to the statement, the consequences of corruption are legion and traders/business owners are at the receiving end of this cankerworm.
“This is why the present issues at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) must be handled without emotions and sentiments. The information available to the public are still sketchy but some of them appear novel, in line with due process and supportive of the principles of fair hearing,’’ it said.
The traders maintained that the Ministerial memorandum from Malami to President Buhari, detailing infractions against the EFCC and its managers, was in order and in line with his supervisory responsibilities.
“The action of Malami is an unprecedented act of courage and should be commended. In the past, ministers have been in unholy alliances with the Chief Executives of Agencies and Departments under their supervision, leading to massive corruption, colossal waste of public resources and shameless economic conspiracy against the Nigerian state.
“We also acknowledge that President Buhari acted in the national interest and in line with his powers by setting up the Justice Salami Investigative Panel. The Panel as the name implies is investigative and not a court of law. The Panel has provided opportunities for accused persons to defend themselves and nothing could be more independent and transparent than this presidential process.
The group noted that former EFCC Acting Chairman, CP Ibrahim Magu and his colleagues have the opportunity to provide answers to the questions posed by the panel and defend themselves in the process, noting that the issues under investigation are serious financial crimes, ranging from alleged re-looting of recovered property/assets to sabotage in the investigation, prosecution of high-profile corruption cases and must not be swept under the carpet.
The traders urged Nigerians to give Justice Salami and his colleagues in the Panel, an opportunity to conclude their inquiry, come up with their report and recommend actions before jumping to inglorious conclusions.
“Avoidable distractions, distortions, media orchestrations, fake news sponsorship and faceless damage to the reputations of public officials, will never be a solution to a legitimate process, to establish guilt or otherwise, of principal actors in this investigation,’’ the statement said.
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