[A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Wednesday denied claims that he hailed former President Goodluck Jonathan’s approach to war against corruption.
Falana, in a statement, said “some misguided fellows” attributed to him in his recent interview with Channels Television, a suggestion that the Jonathan administration fought corruption in a more civilised way.
“I challenge the reactionary forces that have twisted and manipulated my views to reproduce any statement made by me suggesting that President Jonathan fought corruption in a civilised manner,” he said.
He said the claim was part of a desperate move to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption policy and to link him with forces of corruption that were fighting back against the policy.
He said, “In a desperate move to discredit the anti-corruption programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, some misguided fellows have attempted to link me with the forces of corruption that are fighting back in the country.
“I was alleged to have “suggested” in an interview in the Channels Television that President Jonathan fought corruption in a more civilised manner than President Buhari. I never made such a stupid statement. Hence, the “suggestion” ascribed to me is grossly misleading and downright dishonest.”
Falana had said in the interview that the National Peace Committee, led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, was only protecting the interest of the rich.
He said in a statement on Wednesday that much that he said about Jonathan Administration’s fight against corruption was that the administration recovered $970m from the loot of the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
He said, “In accusing the influential members of the National Peace Committee of gargantuan hypocrisy, I did say that their Chairman, General Abbdulsami Abubakar, even probed the dead and recovered properties and over $1bn from the late Abacha loot which are contained in the Forfeiture Decree No 45 of 1999.
“With respect to President Jonathan, I did say that his administration recovered $970m from the said Abacha loot and sacked three of his ministers. I never said that those actions were taken quietly as they were announced and celebrated in the media by the Jonathan administration.
“Consequently, I questioned the motive of the members of the National Peace Committee in calling for a “soft landing” for corrupt people. Convinced that the call was a demonstration of class solidarity, I urged the Buhari administration not to be deterred in prosecuting the anti-corruption war.
“In fact, I did not hesitate in supporting President Buhari’s anti-corruption policy by citing Section 15 of the 1999 Constitution which has imposed a duty on the Nigerian state to abolish corrupt practices and abuse of power.”