Buhari Sets To Re-arrest GEJ
resident Muhammadu Buhari is weighing options on calls for arrest of former President Goodluck Jonathan over his roles in series of corruption cases that allegedly characterized his government, National Mirror can authoritatively report.
The option is being considered even though Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said last Friday in Houston, United States of America that the government does not believe in arbitrary arrest, but in empowerment of the nation’s security agencies to do their jobs.
A source close to the president exclusively told National Mirror last Saturday that Buhari is more irked by recent activities of Jonathan’s wife, Patience.
He averred that the security formations, including anti-corruption agencies in the country are given free hands and are truly being empowered to discharge their roles as claimed by Osinbajo.
Mrs Jonathan, who was accused by many Nigerians of largely contributing to her husband’s loss in the 2015 presidential election, is claiming ownership of some bank accounts suspected to be containing stolen funds and frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The accounts contain several millions of dollars.
Mrs Jonathan has among other actions approached a Federal High Court in Lagos, where she instituted a $200 million suit against the EFCC, over one of the accounts which contains $15 million.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, also revealed that Jonathan’s recent comments over the state of the nation are a slap on Buhari’s government. The source said the former president’s claim of “spreading wealth and not poverty,” and exoneration of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, from stealing $2.1 billion meant for procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram insurgents during his tenure are a breach of pact signed on his behalf by prominent leaders in the country that President Buhari would not probe him.
The source argued that President Buhari should have ordered the probe of the former president, but for the pact, and that Buhari “has been handicapped because he has openly been praising Jonathan for conceding to defeat.”
According to the source, the presidency is nevertheless being increasingly persuaded to invite Jonathan to answer some questions bothering on squandering of public funds during his tenure, “since he no longer respects the pact that exempts him from probe by his successor.”
National Mirror learnt that following the calls for Jonathan’s investigation, former leaders such as Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, have visited Buhari in the past few days to appease him.
It was gathered that Jonathan was forced to speak because of huge criticisms that have.............trailed his government, including growing recession in the country that has been blamed on him.
However, most of the citizens who have called for Jonathan’s probe also desire that Buhari’s government extend his anti-corruption campaign to all leaders that have ruled the nation in the past three decades.
Buhari has severally praised Jonathan for conceding to defeat, but he has spoken tough on alleged gross corruption perpetrated by his government.
Many of Jonathan’s appointees have been arrested, including chieftains of his party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. Some of them who were recently picked are his former media aide, Reuben Abati; former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Musiliu Obanikoro; former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani Kayode; and former FCT Minister, Bala Muhammed. They are currently in EFCC cell.
Source who spoke with our correspondent said: “From the Presidency, they feel it is getting out of hand, that he should have kept quiet and just leave this government.
They are preparing the books for him, and very soon, they may invite him. There is no place in the constitution that says a former president enjoys immunity. If you are a serving president, yes. If you are out, you can be picked to come and answer some questions. That is why they’ve moved some troops in the last 48 hours again to Niger Delta, so that when eventually they pick him up or whatever, it will be so easy to contain them.”
The official said part of plans for mobilizing more soldiers to the region is to fortify security prior to President Buhari’s scheduled visit to the region, tomorrow.
Speaking on possible invitation of Jonathan by anti-graft agency, the source explained that “There was pressure during the 2015 elections, will Jonathan win? Is he going to lose? If he loses the election, what would be the reaction and all that?
Some eminent Nigerians started stalking to both camps, and immediately they knew from INEC that Jonathan had lost, they headed straight to the Villa. They met with him. Of course, before they got there, he had called Buhari to congratulate him. It is in the public domain.
“They knew there was problem. During the campaign, it was not the best campaign. People’s reputations were ruined and all that. Some were abused. Buhari was said to have a dead brain among others. So, they started working on Buhari so that he won’t go all out to say he wants to probe the last administration, particularly Jonathan, who was the man authorizing most of the spending. They had an agreement: he is not going out to probe Jonathan.
“Of course, Obasanjo also met with Buhari to tell him, ‘look, there is a tradition, anything he steals, let him go with it, like the case of Abdulsalami, Al-Mustapha till today is still saying that the man went away with many bags of foreign currency.
He went to Oputa Panel and repeated the same thing. So, they prevailed on Buhari not to investigate or launch an attack on Jonathan…
“Towards May 29, there were discussions that they should move all out against Jonathan. But, again, Gusau, who is the only General that was retired and recalled into the Nigerian military, intervened. He was retired by the Buhari’s administration, but Babangida recalled him. And, he is spin doctor. He is a spy. He has adequate information. He also went to plead on behalf of Jonathan.
“The thing was like that, they kept quiet until when the wife started trouble. EFCC was not actually after the wife. It was Dudafa, SA on Domestic Affairs to Jonathan that they were after. To make their case concrete, they saw the companies he was operating with. They were after him until Mrs Jonathan wrote them that she is owner of the account. She is in court now.
“In the Presidency, they see it as an affront that the wife is throwing stones. She organized some100 women to go and demonstrate in Lagos. They see it as an attack on them. That was why they dusted the files of Jonathan. His properties, they have them.
Like the farm along Airport Road and the likes. That was why Bala Muhammed is in EFCC cell now. As Dame would ask for land, Bala is giving Dame this piece of land, he too will be taking the other. So, they have all those things,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, former President Jonathan, Saturday, said his government never recorded any political prisoner nor political exile all through the six years he was in charge in the country.
He said he allowed criticisms, irrespective of who was behind it, where it came from, and that no one was molested nor jailed for the reason of what they said.
This is even as the former president called on the nation’s citizens, especially leaders, to promote unity and progress of the nation. He charged all people in the country to place the love and indivisibility of the country above other interests.
Jonathan was a Keynote Speaker at the Nigerian Lawyers Association’s Annual Dinner and Merit Awards ceremony which held in New York.
“Let us honour the labour, wisdom and visions of our founding fathers,” he said, adding that Nigerians should demonstrate responsibility in their utterances and actions.
He explained that in order to remove the culture of secrecy in government, he signed the Freedom of Information Act, FoI Act, into law.
“No matter what my critic said about me, I ensured that there was both freedom of speech and freedom after the speech,” Jonathan said.
He urged the lawyers in the US and those in the Diaspora to do their best to support the democratic institutions in the country… “Let us work towards building a united Nigeria where peace and justice reign,” he stated.
He also cautioned against ethnicity, favouritism and nepotism among leaders in the country. He said as a leader, he ensured all ethnic nationalities in the country were considered in his appointment, as according to him, he appointed all his aides and other political appointees that worked with him from across the country.
“We never placed ethno-religious interests above merits or individual values when making decisions,” warning that “Nigeria is for all Nigerians. We must resist the pull of ego that may make us want to purse a regional or narrow agenda.”
Jonathan stressed that as part of his desire to ensure the wills of the people are respected, he appointed the former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, whom he said had no prior personal relationship with him.
“We ensured that appointments to INEC were not based on personal relationships,” he said.
He also explained that he carried out a lot of institutional reforms which include enactment of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to promote efficient management of criminal justice institutions in the country; “We gave institutions unlimited freedom and ensured that the NBA, other professional institutions were devoid of any governmental influence,” including the 2014 National Conference, which he said was a platform for all Nigerians to have a conversation about their shared challenges, strength and weaknesses.
The former president argued that both amalgamation of diverse entities in the country, including its huge population are assets that God use to bless the nation.
“Nigeria is great not because of the crude oil we produce but because of the size of the country and its resilient population… We may have our differences but these differences should serve as the mortar to cement our unity,” he said.
The former president comments are coming at a time when calls for his arrest are on the rise over alleged his involvement in gross corruption that allegedly characterized his government.
Scores of his aides and other appointees have been arrested and detained by the anti-graft agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Majority of the corruption suspects are facing trials in different courts in the country.