STUDY IN CHINA

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Come and confess, anti-graft Committee urges looters

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LAGOS — CHAIRMAN of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, yesterday urged all those who know their hands are dirty to come forward and confess, assuring that certain lenient terms can be obtained by doing so.

Speaking with Vanguard, yesterday, on the challenges before the committee, Sagay promised that the fight against corruption will not be selective even as he disclosed that the agenda for the anti-corruption committee was still being worked out by the Federal Government.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently appointed a Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption headed by Sagay.

The committee’s brief, according to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, is to advise the Federal Government on the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

Sagay, who said the agenda of the committee was the prerogative of the Federal Government, explained that “the agenda is still being worked out, it is not my personal thing. In fact, the whole agenda belongs to the Federal Government.

“The committee is still meeting to work out the details of its operations and their priorities, that is when the issue of the agenda will arise. It is premature to talk about that now.”

There won’t be selective justice
Dismissing claims that the war against corruption was selective, he said “as for the question of selectivity, let me put it this way: any person, who has not been guilty of corruption, who has not looted the funds of Nigeria has no cause for alarm. So, all this escapist attitude of talking of selectivity and victimisation cannot arise, you cannot victimise an innocent man.

“And anyone who knows that his hands are dirty, should come out and confess. I am sure, certain lenient  terms can be obtained by him, but let them not hide under the cloak of selectivity ignoring that their hands are deep red with guilt.

“For me, there is no selectivity, it is plain and straight forward. Those who have looted the country’s funds are going to be requested to return them and in fact, prosecuted if necessary. It has nothing to do with selectivity.”

On his appointment and challenges, the professor of law said: “I see it as an honour because this (corruption) is a major problem for the country, if we are going to develop, if we are going to eliminate poverty, misery and joblessness. These ills we are facing arise out of depletion of our resources by very focused anti social elements, who have sucked us dry.

“If we resolve it (corruption), we have resolved a major problem holding this country back. It is an honour and all of us in the committee are glad to put hands together with this government to try and solve that problem for the liberty of Nigeria.”

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