International groups and Nigeria’s major partners in the anti-corruption fight have asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Government to prosecute the country’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
In a letter addressed to President Buhari on Tuesday, three leading international anti-corruption groups – CornerHouse, Re: Common and Globalwitness asked the President to show his genuine commitment to the anti-corruption drive by investigating the series of allegations levelled against Malami.
The groups were reacting to the recent exposure highlighting how Malami obstructed 14 cases of corruption allegations.
The groups held that failure to investigate Malami would deliver a fatal blow to the reputation of the Presidency abroad.
They said, “We have long defended your anti-corruption campaign against malign charges that it is targeted against political opponents and that friends of your administration are protected. Were Attorney-General Malami to remain uninvestigated, we fear that the ground would be cut from beneath our feet. What is sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander. Mr Malami cannot be indulged or treated differently from Mr Magu. To do so would send a disastrous signal.”
The efforts of the three groups were pivotal to the recovery of billions of dollars stashed away by Nigerian corrupt officials.
They have in recent times expressed concerns that the campaign risks being hijacked by corrupt political interests following the dramatic removal of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
For instance, the prosecution and investigation of Shell, Eni and others in Italy and The Netherlands were a direct result of information the groups have supplied to the prosecutorial authorities apart from engaging with Nigeria's anti-corruption agencies, whose commitment under President Buhari the groups said had never failed to impress them.
The groups poured encomiums on the initial zeal of President Buhari but expressed concern that the tempo appears to be waning.
“Over the past decade, we have worked assiduously to investigate and expose corruption in Nigeria and the role played by institutions and governments in the West in enabling such corruption.
“We have done so in the public interest, not in search of financial reward. We hope that this record has earned us some measure of respect and that you will indulge us if we are frank.
“Those in a position of command are often shielded from unwelcome opinions and facts by advisors,” the groups said in a letter sent to Buhari.