The right process must be followed in fighting corruption, as this is no longer a military regime, the National Peace Committee has said.
The National Coordinator of the committee, Matthew Kukah, a bishop, who spoke on behalf of the committee, Tuesday, told journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, that Nigerians were not averse to the anti-graft war, but were concerned about the process.
“I don’t think any Nigerians is in favour of corruption or is against the president’s commitment to ensuring that we turn a new leaf. I think what we are concerned about is process, it is no longer a military regime and under our existing laws everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Kukah said.
The National Peace Committee, chaired by Abdulsalam Abubakar, former head of state, successfully midwifed the peace accord endorsed by both former President Goodluck Jonathan and his main rival, incumbent President Buhari.
A source close to the committee, who pleaded anonymity, said the former president was not against the corruption prove but against the ‘name and shame’ strategy adopted in the anti-graft war.
However, Kukah, who is also the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, said the former president had so far not approached the committee for any help or mediation to shield him from being probed by Buhari.
“Anybody is free to come to our committee but President Jonathan never by telephone or another means talked to the committee. We went to see him, but that is after we had already seen members of the political party, members of the civil society, we planned to see the speaker because we couldn’t see him yesterday,” he said.
The clergyman also said their meeting was part of a planned series of intervention essentially just to hear out all sides and ensure that the gains achieved by the country at the polls come to fruition.
“This is not an intervention, it is not a hearing out process. When we had election it was like a wedding, now the reality of government is now the marriage and people need to be encouraged,” he said, saying the committee needed to reaffirm that this is “our country and the only thing we can collectively be opposed to is injustice, iniquity…”
He said the president also reaffirmed the need for this committee to continue its duties, as even the international committee had welcomed their contributions.
“Essentially, we are not policing, but when the need arises, help to build confidence in the process,” he said.
Kukah said the committee was not interested in intimidating or fighting anybody, as the former president’s commitment and what he did still remained “spectacular and I think that President Buhari himself appreciates that. So, our effort really is to make sure that the right thing is done.”
Other members of the committee include the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan; Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, and Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe.