The Nigerian public has demanded that all of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers declare their financial assets before they take their oath of office.
This sentiment was inspired by President Buhari’s promise to disclose his own assets. The President also remarked that this action would lead to further accountability of governmental officials including his ministers.
Numerous leaders of non-governmental groups have pointed to President Buhari’s campaign promises as the justification for the public’s call for accountability.
According to the Nigerian Constitution the declaration of assets is optional, and not a legal requirement. However, many of the NGO leaders speaking with the media stressed that it was morally necessary for the ministers to do so.
It will be recalled that over the past few weeks SaharaReporters has written exposes on various ministers in-waiting, including Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and Mr. Anthony Anwukah, detailing charges of corruption and financial malfeasance.
In the case of Mr. Amaechi, he was successfully screened by the Nigerian Senate despite the protestations of Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions Committee. The Committee had earlier issued a report recommending that Mr. Amaechi’s screening be halted, until the Court of Appeals could issue a ruling on alleged wrongdoing during his tenure as Rivers State Governor.
Speaking to Punch Newspaper Mr. Alhaji Olola Kasumu, the president of Afonja Descendants Union (ADU), stressed that President Buhari’s entire anti-corruption effort could be derailed if the ministers did not declare their assets.
He went on to say, “It is part of the campaign promises of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that its appointees and elected officials will publicly declare their assets. The much needed change will be elusive if they do not declare their assets publicly.”