Amidst allegation of being a betrayal and being excessively corrupt, embattled Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at a meeting with representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja challenges public and private workers across the country to lead by examples in the fight against corruption. He talked about how the upper legislative house is engaging and providing support to major anti-corruption agencies in their efforts to reduce corruption in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“We in the eighth Senate have said there will be zero tolerance on the issue of corruption. Corruption is slowing down development,” he said. ” Whether you talking about our refineries not working, the issue of fuel subsidy, [and] the high cost of governance, everything comes back to this issue of corruption. I think it is time for all of us, in the National Assembly, the Executive and the workers to show serious commitment.”
He further alluded to the role of workers in aiding corruption. According to the Senate president: “When you talk about oil theft, we have Nigerian workers at the terminals who surely must know when this thing [oil smuggling] is going on. Every where that there is corruption, some workers are there either participating or observing. We now have a great opportunity to win the war against corruption because we have a leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari that we believe has the political will to do the right thing.”
Senator Saraki, a former governor of Kwara State, also reminded the visiting NLC executive members, led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba, of his roles in exposing the 2011 fuel subsidy scam.
“I am making the commitment on behalf of the National Assembly and myself that we are committed to fighting corruption. If you remember, I was the one that single-handedly in 2011 opened the lid on the fuel subsidy scam that everybody is talking about now… Now that we are getting the message that the political leadership is ready to take on this thing called corruption. I think we need the cooperation of our workers who know it all. They see it happen and when you look at the anti-corruption agencies, with all due respect, you will find out that 80 per cent of some of their cases at the state level.”
Meanwhile the wife the Senate President, Toyin Saraki, has said that she will cooperate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over corruption allegations against her. Mrs Saraki was invited by the EFCC to answer questions about her role in money laundering and looting of public fund through various local companies when her husband was the governor of Kwara State.
According to a statement from Mrs Saraki’s private secretary, Akeem Olagoke: “Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Saraki, Founder of Wellbeing Foundation Africa and wife of the Senate President has been informed by her office that a letter of invitation was delivered to her office, by and from the EFCC… She has directed an immediate and formal response, to the EFCC, that she will be delighted to assist them with any lawful enquiries they may have, as a law abiding, transparent and accountable private citizen.”
There has been increased pressure and scrutiny of Senator Saraki over the past month following his partnership with members of the opposition party (People’s Democratic Party) to emerge as the Senate president against the arrangement set up by his party, All Peoples Congress. He recently threatened to sue an online news media (Sahara Reporters) over false report and defamation of character.