A rights group, Muslims Rights Concern, has called on President
Muhammadu Buhari to ignore calls for the release of former
officials being tried for corruption.
In a statement Monday, the executive director of the group, Ishaq
Akintola, said Nigeria needed to apply limit to its obedience of the
rule of law at this time to enable it to make headway in bringing
looters to book.
Mr. Akintola, a professor, said if released on bail, some of the
suspects might escape from the country, and evade justice.
The statement said, “Members of the main opposition party, the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some sponsored groups
have accused the Federal Government (FG) of failing to respect the
rule of law in its ongoing war against corruption. They want
looters, saboteurs and traitors to be granted bail and set free even
when it is obvious that such people are most likely to jump bail by
fleeing from the country.
“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) frowns at any attempt to
make a mockery of the rule of law. It is a flagrant abuse of the
principles of democracy to talk of human rights in defense of
those who diverted huge funds earmarked for the purchase of
arms. It is only in Nigeria that self-confessed criminals are
indulged under the guise of democracy and the rule of law.
“How can anyone be talking of the rule of law now when the
same rule of law gave those who stole N33 billion police pension
fund a pat in the back and asked them to pay N750,000 only! The
rule of law guaranteed the freedom of a dictator’s son who
laundered N446 billion. The rule of law gave everlasting immunity
to a former governor of Rivers State who stole $500 million. The
list is endless.
“It has always been looting ad infinitum and the law had always
looked the other way. But now that integrity is in power and it is
making thieves accountable, suddenly we find the rogues
appearing in court on wheelchairs, some with crutches, all in an
attempt to hoodwink Nigerians. Some insist on being allowed to
travel abroad just to treat ordinary sore throat. How can we be so
careless as to grant their wish?
“Can’t we see the implications on the lives of 180 million people if
55 people only have the temerity to steal N3.1 trillion within six
years and they still have the audacity to hide under the rule of law
to enjoy their loot while the rest of us whistle for our dinner? Does
that not explain why there are no good roads, no electricity, no
qualitative education and no drugs in the public hospitals? Should
we still play dumb by allowing them to escape to some remote
“Rule of law without limits will protect, promote and project
corruption. It will provide escape routes for kleptomaniacs and put
our gallant propagators of the war against corruption in chains.
We must draw a thick line of demarcation between corruption
and rule of law.
“Nigerians should beware of rule of law without borders. Even the
greatest democracies in the world apply limits to their practice of
rule of law. That is why the United States has Guantanamo Bay,
the widely condemned practice of rendition and waterboarding as
a special form of torture. Yet it is all in the national interest. They
are all practiced to fight terrorism, America’s greatest challenge of
“Terrorism is America’s greatest challenge and the rule of law was
not allowed to protect it. In the same vein, corruption is Nigeria’s
greatest challenge today and we should not allow the rule of law
to stand between us and victory over corruption. We must see
the need to create a border line between corruption and rule of
“The two are incompatible. Corruption is like a gangarene sticking
hard to the national anatomy, sucking its blood dry. This
gangarene must be burned out with hot iron if necessary.
Corruption is a giant monster with its jaws wide open to swallow
up the social order. In fact, corruption is a potent threat to the rule
of law. We must therefore destroy corruption to save the rule of
law otherwise society will collapse.
“It is difficult to understand the mentality of the PDP as a party as it
continues to defend the indefensible. Shameful confessions are
being made on a daily basis yet the party’s megaphones still find
ways of extenuating the shocking revelations. Show me your
friends and I will tell you who you are. It is birds of the same
feather that flock together. We must leave the thieves to defend
the thieves. They have the noun ‘thief’ and the verb ‘to steal’. Men
and women of integrity must stand firm on the path of
transparency, probity and accountability. We must allow the
world to see that we are prepared to stand by the truth.
“For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC remains non-partisan and
we do not care about the fortunes of any political party. But we
must raise the alarm if the PDP which has been in power for 16
years is found to have taken this country to the cleaners.
“How can we remain neutral when in his popular hadith man raa
minkunm munkaran, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
warned against sitting on the fence on matters like this? He said,
“Whoever sees any evil should use his hands to change it. If this
is not possible, he should employ his tongue (i.e. speak out
against it). If this is not possible, he should use his heart (i.e. pray
against it) but that (i.e.) using the heart) is the weakest form of
“How can MURIC turn the blind eye when the Glorious Qur’an also
warned, “Beware of a calamity that will not befall the perpetrators
of evil alone” (i.e. both the guilty and the innocent will suffer,
Qur’an 8:25). No wonder 180 million innocent Nigerians are
suffering from the iniquities of a tiny cabal comprising of 55
selfish, greedy and avaricious people.
“The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri argued that “The hottest part of
hell will be reserved for those who in times of moral crisis
maintain their neutrality.” Therefore every conscious Nigerian
must speak out against this massive fraud which led to the
deprivation of our gallant soldiers of much needed weapons, the
resultant death of several gallant soldiers, the destruction of many
churches and mosques, the loss of more than 150,000 lives of
innocent Northerners among them women and children as well
as over one million people of the North East who fled their homes.
“We must not leave the ruling party, the All People’s Congress
(APC), to do all the fighting alone. It is not about the APC. It is
about Nigeria and our collective survival as a people. All of us are
now suffering for the moral debauchery and financial recklessness
of our past leaders.
“Finally, we appeal to the world community to ignore the
crocodile tears of the opposition camp, the campaigns of calumny
of its sponsored agents and the claims of vendetta and political
victimization by PDP’s cronies. Nigerians support the war against
corruption but we cannot afford rule of law without borders at
this point in time.”
A rights group, Muslims Rights Concern, has called on President