The APC Chairman claimed that it was an attempt to distract the anti-corruption war of the President Buhari-led administration.
Sequel to the sacking of a the senior editor in the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, who concocted a fake interview with Prof Itse Sagay berating Buhari's anti-corruption battle, the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun blamed the act on treasury looters.
The APC Chairman claimed that it was an attempt to distract the anti-corruption war of the President Buhari-led administration. He described the act as the “height of callous insensitivity” to the Nigerian people and government. Oyegun further enjoined Nigerians to supports the efforts of the government and shun detractors. Prof Itse Sagay himself had also distanced himself from the interview, challenging the newspaper show the public evidence of the purported interview.
Oyegun commented that the concocted interview, where Prof. Sagay ridiculed the anti-corruption stand as a mere cosmetic demonstration, was the handiwork of "agents of corruption".
“In response to the ‘concocted’ interview published in Nigerian Tribune (Sunday, December 20, 2015) and attributed to respected legal scholar, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN where he reportedly dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts as “selective” and “cosmetic” and further accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s members of corruption amongst others, we are mindful of the axiom: “When you fight corruption, it fights back”, the statement by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun read.
He went further to state that: “For the record, Mr. Sagay, a professor of law, well known constitutional lawyer and head of President Buhari’s advisory committee on anti-corruption, says the newspaper’s interview credited to him is concocted and represents a desperate attempt to discredit President Buhari’s anti-corruption war. He challenged the reporter and paper’s editors to provide the public with a tape recording of the so-called interview.
“President Buhari in his May 29 inaugural speech declared, I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, that position remains unchanged. The syndicated and sponsored campaign suggesting a “selective” and “cosmetic” anti-corruption fight by the present administration should be seen as a plot meant to distract the citizenry from the successful ongoing war to catch looters and recover Nigeria’s stolen common wealth.
“On sweeping allegations made by the sponsors of the concocted interview that members of the APC are corrupt, the burden of proof is on the sponsors.
“Nigerians and the international community are still reeling in shock over the looting and diversion of public funds meant to purchase badly needed arms and ammunition for Nigeria’s Armed Forces to fight insurgents and protecting the country’s territorial integrity.
“The President’s assurance that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be encouraged to publish details of voluntary return of looted funds to the Federal Government’s coffers is evidently causing panic in the camp of looters.
“Whether by planted media reports, interviews or whatever form of syndicated proxy campaign, the looters of our common wealth do not have the luxury of dictating how the present administration carries out its legitimate duty of catching looters, as long as it conforms with the rule of law.
“The looted arms purchase funds could have saved the lives of innocent Nigerians, particularly ill-equipped soldiers who became easy preys to insurgents.
“Indeed, corruption is fighting back but the will of Nigerians and the noble efforts of the present administration will prevail. “
The Editor-In-Chief of Nigerian Tribune, Edward Dickson, has apologized to Prof. Itse Sagay and fired those involved in the scandal.