- * All Fraud Suspects Must Be Brought To Justice...PDP
President Muhammadu Buhari has cleared the air on a media report, claiming that a former Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Mr Gimba Yau Kumo, who was declared wanted by the ICPC over his alleged involvement in a $65m fraud, was not his son-in-law.
Kumo and two others, Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola, were, on Thursday, through a public notice published on the ICPC website and signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, declared that the trio are urgently wanted for alleged diversion and misappropriation of public contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF).
Kumo, in particular, generated public interest arising from media reports that he is a son-in-law to President Muhammadu Buhari by virtue of being allegedly married to one of the Buhari's daughters.
A majority of the Nigerian public and the global community were however outraged that such an individual would be associated with President Buhari, who, unarguably is reputed, both locally and internationally, as a man of integrity with no known corruption or criminal record.
But in a swift reaction on Friday however, the Presidency denied that Kumo has a relationship whatsoever with President Buhari. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement on Friday, dismissed the claim contained in the media report, saying the suspect (Mr Gimba Yau Kumo) was indeed formally married to a daughter of Mr President but had long ceased to be an in-law of the Buhari family.
Garba Shehu however pointed out that the Kumo case should be clearly seen as an affirmation that Nigeria's anti-corruption agencies/institutions are truly independent and are allowed unrestricted freedom by the President himself to function and to go after any individual who has a corruption case to answer, no matter how highly placed or close to President Buhari.
The Presidential spokesman also explained that for a state institution like the ICPC to issue such a public declaration, is a measure of the Buhari administration’s commitment to accountability, equality and justice.
Garba Shehu said in the statement: “To set the records straight, the person declared wanted by the ICPC is not an in-law to President Buhari. While at some point in time the said fugitive from justice had been linked to a family member in marriage, that relationship ended some years ago.
“It is therefore unfortunate to bring the president’s family into this case. It is in our view an attempt to generate views and sell copies of sensational reporting.
“The president’s position at all times is that the law be allowed to take its course. As is well known of him, President Muhammadu Buhari will not provide any cover for crime, no matter who is involved".
Already, there are strident calls for effort by the ICPC to deploy whatever appropriate means to apprehend Kumo and his two suspected accomplices (Rufus and Ogunsola) for immediate prosecution according to the law of the land.
Among those calling for justice, in this case, is the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party, in a statement on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, tasked the Anti-Corruption agency, the ICPC to track down the suspects, including Gimba Yau Kumo. The party advised the ICPC not to pander to any pressure whatsoever and from any quarter in the course of bringing the suspects to justice.
The PDP also calls for an open investigation of all persons mentioned in the alleged fraud in the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The party also stressed that anything short of proper investigation and prosecution of all the people mentioned in all the cases above, would portray the Buhari government as said a “sanctuary for fraudsters, treasury looters and common criminals.”
The PDP, in a statement, also insists that the Buhari administration must not remain silent in the face of the huge fraud allegations involving its officials or those allegedly close to Mr President.
“The PDP holds as wicked, afflicting and provocative that while millions of hardworking Nigerians cannot afford their daily meals and other basic necessities of life due to the misrule and corruption of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its administration, they are daily assailed by revelations of unbridled treasury looting under President Buhari’s watch.
“Is it not provocative that at the time the Buhari administration is moving to cut workers’ salaries; increase cost of fuel, electricity and other tariffs in a country with over 33 per cent unemployment and where citizens have been subjected to the worst forms of poverty, government officials, cronies and relations of those in power are busy looting our agencies and carting away our common patrimony?
“It is even more distressing that the looted FMBN money is part of funds contributed by Nigerians to meet their home needs which has instead fallen under the predatory proclivities of the APC administration", the NNL.