Resign or be sacked, Falana tells Buratai

RIGHTS activist and Senior Advocate of Ni­geria, Mr. Femi Falana, yesterday urged Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai to resign from office.

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Falana, who spoke against the backdrop of the revelation that Buratai purchased proper­ties worth $1.5million in Dubai, also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack him if he failed to voluntarily resign.

Although the Army chief had admitted owning properties in Dubai, he denied that the money he used to buy them were were proceeds of corruption.

While describing Buratai’s position as a “cock and bull story”, Falana wondered how an Army General could manage to save $1.5million, adding that Nigerians deserve to know how he saved the proceed he used to buy the properties.

“If the Chief of Army Staff does not deem it fit to resign forthwith, President Buhari should not hesitate to remove him in the interest of national morality.

”In view of the ban on the opening and opera­tion of foreign accounts by public officers, the Code of Conduct Bureau should be involved in the investigation,” Falana said.

Falana said for Buhari to show Nigerians that truly there was no sacred cow in the fight against corruption, “Buratai should step down and allow a full scale scale investigation by the Arms Procurement Panel and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”

Also, SERAP’s executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said for the anti-corruption war to be seen as fair, the, anti-graft agencies must consider whether Buratai could afford the properties based on his financiall records as a civil servant.

“The buck stops at the table of the EFCC and ICPC to investigate the COAS. Did Buratai and his two wives acquired the property in Dubai and paid for it in a single transaction?.

“As a civil servant, how much had he received in salaries and emoluments? Are these big enough to acquire the properties? For the anti-corruption war to be seen as fair and not selec­tive, the anti-graft agencies must investigate Buratai. It is their duty,” he said.

Another anti-graft coalition, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) also urged the EFCC to investigate the army chief.

In a petition forwarded to the anti-graft com­mission and signed by the group’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, it said Bratai’s action was a violation of the law of public service.

National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin also canvassed that Buratai be probed over the property scandal.

The Federal Government and the Army hier­archy have given Buratai a clean bill of health. The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, in a statement stated: “It is a fact that the Buratai family have two proper­ties in Dubai that were paid for instalmentally through personal savings three years ago.

“This, along with other personal assets have consistently been declared by General Buratai in his assets declaration form as Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Commander and as Chief of Army Staff.”

The Federal Government also gave Buratai the all-clear over acquisition of the properties in Dubai.

In a statement by PRNigeria, government said his offshore investments were based on capital market principles of “shareholding”.

The capital market principle that governed the property in issue, as it was found by investi­gators, was akin to having shares in companies instead of wholly owning the property.

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