Pan-Yoruba socio cultural organisation, Afenifere, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve ministers fingered in corrupt acts, by some judges recently accused of graft, who were arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) of their duties with immediate effect.
This was even as the group tasked the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against the judges, with a view to ensuring that offenders are prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the land.
Rising from its monthly meeting held at the residence of its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure yesterday, Afenifere expressed readiness to join president Buhari in his fight against corruption, and added that the fight must be fair and balanced.
Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who read the communiqué at the end of the meeting, said: “Afenifere is determined to ensure that it uses all machinery to ensure that ministers fingered in corruption are properly investigated and those found guilty prosecuted.
“For the ministers who have been mentioned for attempting to pervert the course of justice, we are asking that such minister should step aside immediately as minister.
“After that, they should go through due process of the law to either ascertain their innocence or, if their guilt is established, they should be punished according to the laws of the land,” the group stated.
Afenifere also lauded the current investigation of some judges in the country but condemned the manner they were arrested by operatives of the DSS between October 7-8.
“Investigating corruption is within the purview of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC).
“For anybody to go to anybody’s home at about 1.00am and say ‘I am DSS official,’ in a country where the wife of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was kidnapped is abnormal.
“Therefore, we frown at going to the homes of the judges at night.
“We also believe that the judges are not above the laws of the land just because they are judges.
“If a judge is arrested with cocaine in his bag at the airport by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), he goes in for trial. If a judge imports contraband into the country and Customs arrest him, he will be tried.
“But, for offences committed by judges in the course of their duty, it is the NJC that the law says should deal with them and not the DSS or any other agency.
“We, therefore, commend the Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed for boldly rising in defence of Separation of Powers.”
On the current economic crisis in the country, Afenifere advised the president to employ the services of financial experts as a way of getting out of the crisis, stressing that “it is imperative for president Buhari to look for the best brains in economics to formulate economic policies in this period of recession.”
Also, the apex Yoruba group noted that the harsh economy has led to untold hardship on Nigerians, just as it attributed social unrest in some parts of the country to the economic recession in the nation.