A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has warned that the refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to grant amnesty to terror group, Boko Haram, can plunge the country into another civil war.
Ribadu, who was the presidential candidate for the Action Congress of Nigeria in the 2011 presidential election, spoke on Liberty FM in Kaduna on Saturday.
He urged the President to grant amnesty to the violent Islamist sect for peace to return to the country, saying he (Jonathan) should not claim that the sect members were ghosts.
He argued that with the way things were happening in the country, if nothing was done, “Nigerians will lose Nigeria to a civil war.”
Advising Nigerians against voting for a leader they can not trust, he told Jonathan to “hearken to the voice of the people.”
Ribadu said, “Jonathan was wrong to have said he will not grant amnesty to Boko Haram; he should not fail to protect the people and when people call saying we are tired, we are down; even if it means to dialogue and have an solution to the whole process, he should opt for such.
“You cannot say they are faceless because faceless people do not do things like this. Faceless people cannot be responsible and daily you see them on Facebook. Faceless people cannot be in your custody; ghosts cannot be people that are in the community, people who at a point wanted to dialogue.”
The former EFCC chairman added that a war could be averted “if we come together forgetting about sentiments, about differences and working towards unity and saving the resources of this country because it is only through that that we will be able to achieve peace.”
Ribadu added that the presidential pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and others showed that Jonathan was insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian masses.
According to him, it was worrisome for a government that knew nothing about the case to pardon the former governor who was convicted for looting public funds. He argued that the action was a big setback for the fight against corruption in the country.
He said, “The pardon granted Alamieyeseigha and Shettima Bulama by the President is a tragic development. A very unfair action against Nigerians because corruption is our biggest problem and any step taken against the direction of reversing it is a negative development in our own country.
“Our leaders are very insensitive to the ordinary people and very unfair to Nigeria. If you take selfish interest before the interest of the people, personally, as a person who did the work of fighting corruption, they were my own cases and they were extremely very important to me.
“They were the first set of convictions that we recorded and they were significant because they were the first set of cases of convictions in Nigeria since independence. We have never had a governor or a Chief Executive Officer of a bank being convicted for a crime.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of Northern civil society groups, led by Mallam Shehu Sani, also faulted the pardon granted Alamieyeseigha, saying it had made nonsense of the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government.
The coalition argued that the pardon granted the late Gen. Shehu Yar’Adua, former Chief of General Staff , Gen. Oladipo Diya and the late Gen.Abdulkareem Adisa was just to give creditability to the exercise.
It said, “What we know very well is that pardon for Alamieyeseigha is unpopular, and President Jonathan has demonstrated over the years to be rewarding corruption and aiding and abetting it.”