$16bn power projects: No past Nigerian leader should exonerate himself – Uwajeh

The recently disengaged special investigator to the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on recovery of Public Property (SPIPP), Victor Uwaje, has blamed all past Nigerian leaders for the country’s present woes in power sector.

Uwajeh, former consultant to the Economic and and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was reacting to comments of both President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo over $16bn power project.

The private investigator, who was appointed few months ago by Okoi Obono-Obla-led presidential panel to recover all looted funds and properties before he was later disengaged, argued that “past leaders should not exonerate themselves from when and under whom corruption started in Nigeria.”

He wondered why some leaders are now trying to vindicate themselves, having jointly created problems for the Nigerian masses.

In a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen on Sunday, Uwajeh expressed shock and decried former military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, for saying corruption started in Nigeria immediately he left government.

“I read with shock in several news media wherein Former Military Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, retired, stated that corruption started after he was ousted from office in 1975.

“It is worthy to note that soon after General Yakubu Gowon was ousted he purchased a property in the United Kingdom.

“On 30th November 1976, YAKUBU GOWON and VICTORIA HANSATU GOWON purchased a property at 32 Broadgates Avenue, Hadley Wood, Herts. EN4 0NU

“This property is a 7-bedroom detached mansion with 4 baths and 3 receptions with a current value of over £5 million.

“This property is a massive Freehold property registered under UK land registry with Title Number: MX357472.

“The title documents show that there were no lenders when the property was purchased which means that it was a cash purchase on 30/11/1976,” he said in the statement.

Explaining how Nigerian government should fight corruption, the United Kingdom-based private investigator stressed that it should be holistic, rather than persecuting political enemies.

He described the present fight against corruption in Nigeria as a deliberate attempt to blackmail some people, who are perceived as political enemies against government in power.

According to him, “Past Nigerian leaders should stop buck-passing blames and join the government to fight corruption. It is important that this menace is addressed holistically instead of apportioning blame and every past leader claiming to be a saint.

“Corruption should be fought holistically and not to single out people like Senate President Bukola Saraki and opposition politicians for persecution. Harassment of perceived corrupt persons is not the same thing as fight against corruption,” he said.

He added, “It is a well-known fact that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigeria and past leaders should not exonerate themselves from when and under whom corruption started in Nigeria.

“The incessant narrative bothering on blackmail and disrespect for other arms of government especially the national assembly is becoming worrisome for every right- thinking patriot.

“The National assembly should be allowed and encouraged to carry out its constitutional role in a democracy.”

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