The presidency has issued a stern warning to political appointees, government officials and party men against influence peddling for corrupt pecuniary gains and other forms of extortion.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES said complaints of extortions of innocent people by what he called “self-serving name droppers and influence peddlers” is causing increasing embarrassment to the presidency.
According to Mr Shehu, “President Buhari had made it very clear since his inauguration that he won’t tolerate any form of impropriety by his appointees, aides, and government officials who abuse and misuse their offices for illegal financial advantages.”
The media aide explained that using one’s office or influence for private advantage or financial gains is corruption, warning that “the president would not tolerate any conduct by anybody to use his name to extort innocent people.”
He stressed that President Buhari’s commitment to the fight corruption at all fronts in his government remains unchanged, adding that “those who are not genuinely committed to this vision would be weeded out once caught and punished accordingly.”
The media aide advised Nigerians to report any government official or appointees using the President’s name or that of his aides and appointees to extort the public, adding that the current zero tolerance for corruption by the Buhari administration won’t condone this repugnant culture in government or public business.
The warning comes weeks after the State Security Service presented a woman, Amina Mohammed, whom it accused of using the name of the first lady, Aisha Buhari, to collect millions from unsuspecting victims.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the SSS said the woman had access to the State House which she used for her acts. The woman, however, denied wrongdoing. She told journalists that her activities were well known to relatives of Mrs Buhari and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
Tuesday’s warning also comes weeks after Mrs Buhari accused her chief security officer, Sani Baba-Inna, of using her name to collect millions of naira from unsuspecting persons.
Mr Baba-Inna was initially detained by the SSS but was later freed without any prosecution.
It has also been revealed that some of the Buhari’s supporters have been using his name to getting funding from Ministries, parastatals and MDAs in recent time.
It was also alleged that his director of strategic communications, Festus Keyamo, SAN , once approached the NNPC to seek funding.