A coalition of non-governmental organizations, Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CVAC), has commended the Federal Government for setting up the Justice Ayo Salami Panel to investigate alleged corrupt practises within the anti-graft agencies.
CVAC said in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja that the move by the President Buhari Administration to fight alleged corrupt practices, particularly in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been seen as welcome development by Nigerians.
The statement which was signed on behalf of the Coalition by Abdulrazaq Alkali and Princewill Okori, for Organization for Community Association for Public Civic Engagement (OCCEN) Policy Analysis (APPA), frowned at what it termed recent campaigns of calumny against the integrity of Justice Salami.
The coalition said the constitution of the Salami panel to probe corruption allegations leveled against the Chairman of EFCC Ibrahim Magu “has proved many doubters wrong and has cemented the president’s resolve to fight corruption even if it involves the so-called one of its own”.
“The selection of Justice Ayo Salami to head the investigation panel has been a masterstroke from the president, considering his incorruptible and impeccable character.
“The 2011 – 2013 face-off between Justice Salami and the then Federal Government only help bring his integrity and credibility to the limelight. Evidenced by how he stood his ground and refused to compromise on his moral and judicial responsibilities despite pressure and blackmail from the then Executive arm of the government and in conjunction with some corrupt elements within the Judiciary.
“The entire saga shows the true character of Justice Salami as an anti-corruption champion and somebody that will not be pushed around to the bidding of anybody or be blackmailed to get something out of him.
The coalition further pointed out that “the defendant’s team are crying wolf trying hard to derail the direction of this investigation, and have resorted to smear campaign and media blackmail using proxy groups against people involved in this investigation.
“These smear campaigns were first targeted towards the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, simply because he is exposing alleged corrupt practices and abuse of office by the suspended EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu, to the president and the investigation panel.
“As the detractors have been unsuccessful in tarnishing the image of the AGF using their spurious allegations, they have now turned in the direction of Justice Salami.
“The current smear campaigns and media blackmail using anti-Nigeria and anti-democracy media outlets quoting fake sitting allowances and emoluments against Justice Salami and the panel members are only aimed at derailing the ongoing investigation and injuring the anti-corruption agenda of the President Buhari led government.
“Knowing the integrity and incorruptible nature of Justice Salami, the detractors know that Justice Salami Panel will see through to the end of this investigation, and it is very clear that the detractors are afraid of the outcome.
“For this reason, the Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CIVAC) a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), wish to make ourselves clear that we are strongly in support of this investigation and we call on the Federal Government to provide the Justice Salami panel all the necessary support and resources needed to see this investigation to a logical conclusion.
“If the defendant’s team (Ibrahim Magu’s team) are not pleased with the procedure or do not believe in the legality of the investigation panel they are free to seek redress in a court of justice.
“We will like to call on Justice Salami and his panel members to stay focused and not be distracted by the noise of those who are vehemently opposed to the anti-corruption crusade.
“We are calling on Nigerians to disregard the baseless allegations and campaign of calumny against Justice Salami and other panel members working hard to investigate these corrupt acts and abuse of office and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.
“We also call on the authorities to ensure the security of Justice Salami and other panel members”, the Coalition added.