Nigerians are indeed reeling in the euphoria of recent successes recorded by the nation’s military, especially in finally sacking Boko Haram insurgents from their stronghold in Zairo, Sambisa forest. Reports of the resounding successes are reassuring despite the recent Rann misadventure in Borno State by an air force fighter jet which led to the death of hundreds of civilians and relief workers as a result of bombs that were mistakenly thrown at the IDPs’ camp. With the military gaining the upper hand in this final push against the insurgents, hope is being reinforced on their possible triumph while daily information which highlight commendable fighting spirit of the military and their resounding successes are noteworthy and reassuring. It is true that news of the final exploit and eventual victory over the dreaded insurgents by Nigerian military came at the tail end of 2016, December 20 precisely, and even elated President Muhammadu Buhari embellished it when he made the conquest of the insurgents’ stronghold a significant point in his 2017 New Year message to the nation. He commended the gallantry of the nation’s military and thanked Nigerians for their support in the war against the insurgency. According to the president, “The support of all Nigerians to the security agencies that enabled them to successfully execute their mandate is crucial in our bid to effectively secure our country.” Buhari also said that “seeing the joyful return of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, to Damasak town in Borno State, following the reopening of Maiduguri/Gubio/ Damasak road in northern Borno on December 25, 2016, reassured us that the voluntary return of IDPs in other parts of the country was imminent as a result of gradual return of peace to the troubled North east region of the country.” Towards this end, he explained that the federal government would spare no effort in seeing to the resettlement and rehabilitation of the unfortunate victims of terrorism and insurgency and urged state governments as well as privileged Nigerians, donor agencies and countries to redouble their contributions towards this goal. According to him, government was aware of some mistakes and wrongdoing in handling the affairs of IDPs and assured that measures were being taken to correct the anomaly and punish the culprits. In truth, this strong statements on the fraud against the IDPs and steps to reprimand those culpable have long been expected from government when the lid was blown on various scandals. And coming at this time from no other person than the president himself that those found wanting
will be dealt with, further gives fillip to the Buhari administration’s seriousness in fighting corruption and prosecuting any one culpable, no matter his or her position, party affiliation and closeness to the president or government of the day. Besides, it conveys the seriousness government attaches to crimes committed against these helpless Nigerians who have been denied by circumstances to enjoy such succour at this critical time and in unconventional homes, but were short-changed by top officials who should ordinarily add their support to the displaced persons but instead decided to enrich themselves fraudulently at the expense of these unfortunate Nigerians. Any official who partook in this wrong side by thieving from vulnerable Nigerians is really not a brother’s keeper, worse than the insurgents, and deserves to be treated as an enemy. Regrettably, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and an ally of President Buhari, has been indicted by the Senate committee that investigated the IDPs’ welfare and he is currently under another probe instituted by the president himself . The nation is waiting for the outcome of the investigations on this top government official. If found culpable, Lawal should on no account be spared but prosecuted accordingly. Perhaps the lists are longer as there could be other accomplices that need to be fished out too. This is the pointer to the president’s New Year message and has suitably reinforced his position that government was aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs. Expectedly, even as we anticipate no less a strong statement and position from government, given the gravity of the offence, so far so good, Buhari’s effort is welcomed. And going forward in the anti-corruption fight of this administration, we salute the president’s courage to probe his SGF and the acting EFFC boss. This must add up by listing others who may have been indicted by one panel or the other, whether by the states or federal bodies. Any wrong doing by any of his aides or government officials should be brought forward now to be addressed appropriately. In truth there are many more with excess baggage in this administration, which we don’t’ need to list time and again. The president knows these characters and as a way of launching a hopeful 2017, which he assured in his New Year message to the nation, time is now to let those cats out of the bag. The anti-corruption fight must not end or be selective with probing some of the top officials fingered in his administration alone, others should equally be investigated and in turn made to face the music if anything untoward is established against them.

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