To Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, treasury plunderers do not deserve mercy. They should be tried and jailed, the Sokoto monarch said.
The monarch said: “It is our belief that all those found guilty should not only have their entire assets seized and forfeited to government but also face jail sentences.”
It was all at the opening of a National Security Summit organised by the police in collaboration with The Sun Publishing Limited in Abuja. The President said more hands were on the way for the police.
He spoke of a plan to recruit 10,000 to strengthen the capacity of the police to fight insurgency and other crimes.
The summit’s theme is “Community partnership approach to internal security and crime management”.
Besides, Buhari said his administration was considering Close Circuit Television (CCTV) monitoring systems for major cities and towns to address security challenges.
The Sultan was not alone in the support for the anti-corruption war. Former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, publisher of The Sun, also backed the President.
The former governor advised that the anti-graft battle should be targeted at the real culprits and not political foes.
Speaking of the theme of the summit, the President reminded the police that no matter how well motivated, equipped and successful they think they are, they cannot operate without the support of the various communities.
The President said: “The need for community input to crime management and policing in Nigeria has become more imperative, considering our current national security challenges in which kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, transitional crimes, terrorism and other organised crimes evolve and threaten our national values and overall progress as a nation.”
To address the challenges, including unemployment, illiteracy, radicalisation, negative peer group influence, substance abuse and erosion of family and moral values, President Buhari restated his promise to empower the youth.
“The Federal Government is planning to employ at least an extra 110, 000 police officers and establish a properly trained and equipped Federal Anti-Terrorism Multi-Agency Task Force that will effectively address the challenge of future insurgency in a sustainable manner.”
On the installation of CCTV systems, the President said: “In order to further strengthen the security of the public space, consideration is being given to the extension of the CCTV Monitoring Systems across major cities and towns in the country while the police accountability mechanism will be strengthened.”
He also spoke of efforts being made to enhance the operational capacity of policemen through a tailor-made training programme that will give them the right civil orientation in their roles as guidance of the constitution.
Speaking on the welfare of police officers, the Sultan said: “We should face the task of reforming and repositioning the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ensure that our security agencies truly become 21st Century organisations, able to discharge their mandate effectively and efficiently. We should be able to cater for their operational needs and the welfare of their members.
“Institute national integrity plan for the country as soon as feasible, which will refocus our ethical, moral and spiritual energies and the indomitable spirit of our people into building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic country, which shall take its pride of place among the comity of nations.
“The last few years have undoubtedly been trying period for this country. Blood has been shed with impunity and reckless abandon, lives have been lost, livelihoods have been shattered and entire communities have been dislocated. A significant percentage of our population has become refugees in our own homeland.”
He, however, urged traditional and community/religious leaders and the entire citizenry to come together to ensure that the suspicion and mistrust of the past give way to major trust and understanding.
The Sultan spoke about how the Caliphate fought corruption. He said: “As from early stage, the leaders realised that they needed honest people at all levels to be able to establish a decent state. Leaders, according to Sultan Mohammed Bello, are a spring of water and all your officials are like water ways. If the spring is pure, the filth of the waterways cannot harm it. If on the other hand the spring is polluted, the purity of the waterways will have little effect on the purity of the water. And I can say Alhamdulilai, in Mr. President, we have a pure spring as our president.
“On his employees, the ruler was asked to estimate their wealth before appointing them and should watch their conduct at all times. He shall confiscate whatever is in excess of their legitimate income and if in doubt, confiscate half of it. To his subject, you will be shepherd of flock amongst ravening lions, for from evil employees proceeds all manner of corruption in every learning.
“On bribery and gift taking, Sheik Abdullahi Fodio could not be more emphatic… Another thing agreed upon as being illegal is the collection of bribes on behalf of the leader or other officials like the judges and other employees. It is also illegal to accept gifts from the common people for such action is the door leading to all calamities. Where a gift finds its way to a man of authority, justice and goodness will find their way out of him and what he does is to purchase for himself a place in hell.
“Mr President, we are 100 percent in support of you and your fight against corruption in this country and it is our belief that all those found guilty should not only have their entire assets seized and forfeited to government but also face jail sentences.”
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase urged the President to persuade the National Assembly to pass the Police Trust Fund Bill into law.
The Bill will address adequate funding for the police.
Arase said: “Through effective funding, the welfare needs of police personnel will be met and the challenge of corruption that has eroded professionalism and public respect for police officers will be addressed.
“Consider funding options for the police. In so doing, consideration may be given to the resuscitation and passage of the Police Trust Fund (Establishment, etc) Bill, which has been pending in the National Assembly since 2012.
“Like the Education Tax Fund, the bill seeks to tax corporate entities in order to complement the Federal Government in funding the police.
“If passed into law, it will give effect to the concept of public-police partnership while addressing the funding challenges of the Police on sustainable basis.
“This is because modern policing is a cost-intensive venture, but the benefits of a well-funded Police Force far outweigh the value of the budgetary investment. For it is only through adequate funding that the huge logistics demand of the police can be met and operational efficiency assured.”
Kalu said the President must be focused in his fight against corruption.
His words: “Do not pursue corruption the way some of your predecessors pursued corruption. The fight should not be by fighting individuals that have not done anything, but you should fight anybody, no matter his tribe, ethnicity, colour or person. Whoever is involved in corruption should not be spared.
“Corruption in the past had been fought based on political disagreement; corruption in the past had been fought because you don’t like a face.
“Don’t focus on catching any governor. If you cannot catch the governor because he has immunity, please don’t catch the mother like the former President said,” Kalu said.