During the final phase of Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, his spokesman, Garba Shehu, stated that the outgoing President himself was free from scandal and did not have any hidden bank accounts containing proceeds of corruption. However, some members of his cabinet faced allegations of misappropriation of public funds and corrupt practices.
Civil society organizations and anti-corruption campaigners are now urging President Bola Tinubu to investigate and scrutinize certain ministries and former ministers. Specifically, they have called for a probe into the actions of former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Farouq, former Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, former Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, and former Minister of Finance Ahmed Zainab.
Solomon Adamu, Chairman of the Nigeria Accountability Rights Initiative (NARI), emphasized the need for a prompt investigation and possible arrest of these former ministers, as some of them may attempt to leave the country to evade scrutiny. Adamu highlighted the unresolved issues surrounding the multi-billion naira feeding scheme and other social intervention programs, involving the Humanitarian Affairs Minister and Minister of Finance.
In 2022, various anti-corruption groups submitted corruption allegations against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to former President Muhammadu Buhari. However, Buhari chose not to take action on these allegations. One of the accusations against Malami was his involvement in auctioning sea vessels containing seized crude oil, which violated the EFCC Act of 2004.
Adebayo Bello, another anti-corruption advocate, emphasized the need for the arrest and investigation of former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, regarding the controversial national carrier project, Nigeria Air. Bello pointed out that Sirika spent billions of naira on launching a national carrier that did not receive the necessary approval. The allegations against Sirika and the substantial expenditure on the project have prompted calls for anti-corruption agencies to investigate and apprehend him.
These calls for investigations and potential arrests stem from concerns about the misuse of public funds and fraudulent practices. Critics argue that such actions divert resources that could be better utilized to improve the lives of Nigerians through the provision of essential infrastructure and services.