President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared that his association with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has not diminished his commitment to the war against corruption.
The president made the statement following criticisms trailing his open declaration of support and proclamation of Ganduje as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, at a rally in Kano on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, Buhari noted that Ganduje, as a sitting Governor, enjoys immunity from prosecution in his own right, adding that “under Nigerian laws, a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
The statement said further that Ganduje’s matter is in court and the President has no power to dictate to the court or the Kano State House of Assembly, on what to do with the allegations against the governor.
It stated further that “a number of high profile prosecution of senior government officials that a former Secretary to the Government and a former state governor who is a party member and now serving term in jail as indications of will and determination to wage the anti-corruption war without fear or favour.
It also added that the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, is currently on administrative leave as part of President Buhari’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
The statement explained that despite some of the suspects being close to the President, he had not shielded them from investigation, administrative suspensions and prosecution.
The Presidency added that it is sheer mischief to suggest that President Buhari is shielding anybody because of their closeness to him, explaining that no official under this administration would go unpunished once they break the law.
According to the statement, “it is unfair to ignore the larger picture of the President’s major successes in the war against corruption, including blocking leakages of corruption, which in turn, boosted government revenues.”
President Buhari also challenged his critics to prove that those facing corruption allegations are innocent, adding that his “zero tolerance for corruption has boosted and remarkably improved Nigeria’s image in the eyes of world leaders.”