President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he dealt with the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen because of his failure to declare his assets as prescribed by the constitution.
The President said this while hosting the leadership of the pan-Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, led by its chairman, Pa Ayo Fasanmi.
The delegation included the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other notable leaders from the Southwest.
Buhari in his remarks told the visitors about his administration’s achievements in his first tenure, which included achievements in securing the country, repositioning the economy and fighting corruption.
While acknowledging some degrees of progress in securing the country, the President admitted that there were still much more to do in that direction.
On his fight against corruption, the President said his administration was recovering stolen properties as much as it could stressing that such proceeds of corruption recovered would be sold off to safeguard the possibility of subsequent administration from returning them to the looters.
He said, “Now what I do is when a person cannot justify what he has or fails to declare as the constitution specifies, some of them swear to almighty God that their property doesn’t belong to them until we show them their bank accounts and their companies then we have some peace.”
He continued “I will tell you as Afenirere, that was why I had to deal, though reluctantly, with the former Chief Justice Onnoghen. Because there were millions of dollars, euros not to talk of Naira which were not declared. I wonder what sort of conscience some of us have. How can you sit and preside and lock people up for years and even sentence some to death and yet you are not doing what the constitution says you should do by occupying that vital institution?”.
The Afenifere in a presentation made by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, demanded that the President increase the number of policemen and make them to be spread across the 774 local governments of the country.
The group also demanded that the President introduces free universal and compulsory education across the country; youth employment; true federalism and increased investments in power supply and agriculture.
Asked what the next level portended for Nigeria, Tinubu, who spoke to State House correspondents after the meeting said, “You have economic progress that we are working for as a party; we have the diversity of the economy itself; we have the various scale of thinking that the economic council will have to bring about; the infrastructural deficit; poverty, security.
Those are the things that we will put emphasis on; you know it; I know it; there is infrastructural deficit across the country and without infrastructure, you cannot galvanize the economy; you have the question of electricity that is critical to industrialisation and economic growth.”
The APC national leader added that the Yoruba elders were not clannish but want to build a nation where its diversity would translate into prosperity. “No matter what, we have nothing but one country and that is the only way that we can stimulate growth and understanding among various nationalities.
It is not by division; it is not by promoting religious conflict; religious differences; nobody has control when they were born; what they will be, how they will be raised and how their fate will affect their lives and we must remove that from our political setting; set it aside, build a nation and concentrate on trust and development,” he added.