Suspension of SGF, DG NIA: CAN has no basis for complaint – MURIC
Lawal and Oke were suspended for their alleged roles in a grass cutting contract under the Presidential Initiative for the North East and the discovery of N13 billion cash in various currencies in a Lagos flat respectively
The Muslim Rights Concern has faulted the complaint by the Christian Association of Nigeria over the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke.
Lawal and Oke were suspended for their alleged roles in a grass cutting contract under the Presidential Initiative for the North East and the discovery of N13 billion cash in various currencies in a Lagos flat respectively.
MURIC, in a statement signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, however, faulted the position of CAN that the two men were suspended because they are Christians.
The statement reads in full:
President Muhammadu Buhari recently suspended the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on allegations of sharp practices and violation of due process.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) immediately cried foul. The umbrella Christian body, speaking through the president of its Northern youth wing, Daniel David Kadzai, accused Buhari of suspending the duo simply for being Christians and not because of any allegation of graft. The parent body has not denied this statement.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) take exception to CAN’s allegation against Buhari. It is false, baseless and malicious. CAN’s allegation is short in modesty, long in indecency.
Does CAN recall that the grass-cutting scandal broke out since October 2016? Isn’t CAN aware that Nigerians have since been clamouring for the sack of the SGF? Buhari, who is known for his zero tolerance for corruption, still allowed the SGF to continue in office for good eight months after the scandal broke out in spite of the avalanche of criticisms. He gave the SGF the benefit of the doubt while discreet investigation continued. The presidency even went out of its way to declare the SGF innocent in a letter to Senate. Buhari was only constrained to act after indubitable proof of impropriety was provided.
It is therefore the height of ingratitude and the climax of impudence for CAN to turn round to accuse Buhari of suspending the SGF because he is a Christian. Why does CAN love blackmail so much? At what point exactly did the SGF become a Christian? Was it just yesterday?
Was he not a Christian when Buhari deemed it fit to appoint him? Was he not a Christian when Buhari defended him before Senate? Was he not a Christian when Buhari retained him in office for eight good months while Nigerians rained all sorts of abuses at the president for not sacking his ‘corrupt’ SGF?
Ditto for the DG of the NIA, Ayo Oke. Whereas it is customary for newly sworn-in presidents to appoint their own men to strategic positions, President Buhari magnanimously retained ex-President Jonathan’s men and many of them are still in office to date. Ayo Oke was one of them and we doubt if anything would have happened to him if the $43 million cash haul in the Ikoyi luxury apartment had not occurred.
Equally nauseating is the statement credited to one Suleiman who claims to be the son of Babachir Lawal. He alleged that his father was removed because he was a Christian. This may be understandingly infantile. We may ask him, nonetheless: did Jonathan appoint Ayo Oke as DG of NIA because he was a Christian or because he merited the post?
We call the attention of patriotic Nigerians to the antics of the leadership of Nigerian Christians: blackmail, arm-twisting, bad faith and ill-will. How can any Nigerian leader function effectively in this kind of atmosphere unless he is a Christian? The rough-tackles begin the moment a Muslim becomes president.
We warn that this must not be allowed to go on. CAN is using religion to promote mediocrity. CAN is sheltering corrupt Christians in public office. This is a body that should concretise the values of transparency, honesty, probity and accountability. It is shameful, self-defeating and unpatriotic.
The amount of money involved in the grass-cutting scam (N220 million) was for weeding the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the North East. Is it not disgraceful for any public official to add salt to the injuries suffered by the IDPs? In the case of the DG of NIA, the amount involved is a staggering $43 million. This money alone is enough to electrify the whole South West of Nigeria.
This money belongs to all of us. Not to Muslims alone. Not to Christians alone. It is our commonwealth for crying out loud and somebody is playing pranks with it. But CAN seems to be telling Buhari to “keep off, this is a Christian affair. Touch not my anointed!…” or something that sounds like it.
MURIC says ‘No’ to religious politics. One they are indited, a grass-cutter thief is a grass-cutter thief whether he is a Michael or a Mikail. A dollar hoarder is a dollar hoarder whether he is a Joseph or a Yusuf. Corruption knows no religion. Let us allow the law to take its due course. CAN must stop protecting corrupt Christian public officials. Or is CAN telling us that a percentage of money stolen by Christians from government is always reserved for the church? So why the hullabaloo?
For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC’s concern is the welfare of the jamaheer (the masses). Why should we continue to tolerate a situation where only 1% of the population corners 85% of our commonwealth to themselves leaving only 15% of the country’s resources to the remaining 99% of the population who are over-worked, under-paid and over-taxed workers, frail-looking and weather-beaten indigent students and the army of unemployed, hungry and homeless Nigerians?
As we round up, we affirm, for the umpteenth time, that our intellectual jihad is not for President Muhammadu Buhari. It is for socio-economic justice. It is for a Nigerian El Dorado, for the establishment of an egalitarian society where no Nigerian will be homeless, illiterate, hungry and sick.
Our jihad (i.e. struggle) is against corruption, injustice and bad governance and we will leave no stone unturned until every Nigerian, Christian, Muslim or animist, is free to work and worship in any part of the country he chooses to reside. It is therefore not about Buhari. It is about good governance and life more abundant. Any government that pursues transparency will get our support while tyrants and oppressors will always feel our sting.