#Panamapapers: Resign Now TMG Tells Saraki

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The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of over 400 civic organizations in Nigeria has asked the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki to resign.

According to TMG in a statement, it said that it have been keeping a close watch on the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

In the statement signed by Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi TMG’s Chairman, it said; “to say the least, the lurid details that have emerged so far about how monies belonging to the people of Kwara State were either pilfered or diverted to Saraki’s personal accounts, remind all well-meaning citizens about the urgent need to stamp out elite corruption. In just two days of trial, the dirty secrets that have emerged are startling.”

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Speaking further TMG said; “Before the very eyes of the people of Kwara and by extension Nigeria, we are seeing how the criminal alliance between Saraki and his current minion in the Kwara State Government House resulted in the continued payment of Saraki’s salary as governor, four clear years after he ceased to occupy office as governor.

“As if what has been coming out of the CCT is just a tip of the iceberg, Saraki’s name again showed up prominently on the infamous global list of tax dodgers and those hiding suspicious assets in offshore havens as revealed in the leaked Panama Papers. It stands in stark contrast that while the Prime Minister of Iceland who was mentioned in the Panama leaks has since resigned, Saraki and his fellow primitive accumulators in the Senate are waiting for the Nigerian people to forget and move on.

“These looted monies are the funds that would have paid the salaries of teachers, doctors and other workers in the state. These are the funds that should have built schools, hospitals, roads and provide education for the children of the ordinary man and woman in Kwara State.

“While it is tragic that Saraki and his co-travellers have short changed the people of Kwara, and set them back in their quest for good governance, the bigger tragedy is the criminal silence in the Senate. Even though it is well known that the Senate as an institution has remained morally challenged, and bereft of integrity over the years, whatever modicum of regard Nigerians have for this institution is about to be thrown away by the complicity of the insensitive lawmakers supporting Saraki.

“It speaks volumes about the character and antecedents of many of these so called legislators, that they would put allegiance to their heavily tainted leader, above allegiance to the Nigerian people.

TMG knows that the insistence of Saraki’s supporters in the Senate to bury their heads in the sands like proverbial ostriches in the face of this irreversible reputational damage to the Senate, comes from the morbid fear that the anti-corruption search light would soon be beamed on them. And knowing that their cupboards are brimming with a grim combination of skeletons and cadavers, they are ready to actively participate as their heavily tainted Senate President continues to drag the law making institution in the mud. In spite of this criminal conspiracy against the collective interest of all Nigerians, the voice of the people resonates clearly: Saraki’s exit is long overdue. TMG calls on the entire Senate, and all well-meaning citizens to step up the pressure to compel Saraki to resign now!”

According to TMG it also stated that; “Knowing that the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government is just beginning to gather steam amidst several ingrained institutional challenges, TMG commends the resolve shown by the institutions prosecuting the Saraki case. In the face of blackmail, intimidation and other forms of rigmarole aimed at derailing the trial, the relevant agencies have diligently stayed the course. Specifically, we commend the CCT Chair for refusing to succumb to the raft of inane technicalities employed by the defense to frustrate the cause of justice.”

“TMG also commends the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the meticulous investigations that have unearthed these crimes against the people of Kwara. In the end, all of these vindicate the Nigerian people who voted massively to send the corrupt old order as represented by the immediate past administration packing. It is that monumental decision that has brought back to national consciousness the fact that there is still a real difference between right and wrong.”

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