Bishop Kukah is a memmber of he peace committee, headed by former military ruler, Abdulsalam Abubakar which also includes the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor.
Speaking after the committee met Mr. Buhari, Mr. Kukah said although the leaders were not in support of corruption, they were worried about the process.
“I think what we are concerned about is process,” he said. “It is no longer a military regime and, under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.
“Again, our own commitment is not to intimidate or fight anybody. The former President’s commitment and what he did still remains spectacular and I think that President Buhari himself appreciates that.”
Below is a full text of Kukah’s assertions. What is your take?
“There are different ways of doing that. We elected a President not to look for scapegoats. We elected the President to get a job done and I am convinced that if Buhari wants to prosecute thieves he will do it because as the President there is no kind of information that he cannot access. Prosecution of corrupt people does not necessarily have to be done through theatre and drama. Obasanjo did it quite efficiently. He got back a lot of money without shouting. There were a few theatricals, but Obasanjo himself did say to my hearing that there were people who returned money even through pastors. So what is the use of wasting money trying to prosecute somebody? Doing that quietly without noise will be better because the business of governance will go on.
“The institutions responsible for prosecution should be made to do that effectively. All I am saying is that getting information about the transactions of corrupt people is easy. It does not have to be Buhari who will be championing it. The institutions are there. There are various arms of government that can point a moral gun at these people.
“This is the only country where you can go to the Senate from the EFCC and become a minister even while having a case with the EFCC. We are on a moral free fall. It is such that after some have been on the television their people will come out to say that their children are being witch-hunted.
“I am not against prosecution, what I am saying is that the business of governance should not be abandoned. I said it during Oputa Panel (hearing) that the unfortunate thing about prosecution in Nigeria is that the criminals have the money to get the lawyers. Since these things can be resolved institutionally, why going on a wild goose chase? Nigerians don’t even have to know who the criminals are. Obasanjo, who has a very retentive memory, can tell Nigerians the people who brought back money without making noise. He only told them to go and sin no more.
“Only a foolish man will appreciate that going after the biggest thieves in Nigeria, is the biggest solution to our problems”.