Nigeria: Planned Protest Over Corruption in NDDC, Others 'Ill-Advised' - Presidency

The Presidency has described a plan by the Trade Union Congress to embark on a protest over reported cases of corruption in three key government offices as "ill advised and totally uncalled for."

A statement Monday said the TUC planned to embark on a nationwide protest over the alleged President Muhammadu Buhari's "inaction over the high-level of corruption uncovered at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the planned demonstration is an attempt to "stampede" the administration considering that there are ongoing investigations in the cases by both the Executive and Legislative arms of government.

These processes must be allowed to run their full courses, it said.

Investigations by the National Assembly has revealed rampant corruption in the NDDC, with several billions of naira wasted and spent on items not considered useful to affected communities.

The head of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, is also being investigated for alleged mismanagement of recovered money. Mr Magu, who has been suspended from office, has strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly, officials at the NSITF have been removed for alleged fraudulent activities.

"It is against the norm in a democratic society as well as the natural laws of justice to seek "action," meaning punishment against offenders before proper investigation, trial and conviction," Mr Garba said.

"The President has made it clear that the allegations that have surfaced clearly "constitute a breach of trust" and as the investigations take hold and close out, all those found wanting will face the wrath of the law.

"The TUC, as an enlightened group of labour Unionists, should indeed voice their indignation whenever such acts are being unearthed.

"However the expectation will be for it to also raise the bar higher, in terms of the debate concerning the impact of such allegations on our ability, to create and retain employment, attract investment, improve the living conditions of its members and citizens, and how a preponderance of these heinous crimes decimates any gains being made in other spheres.

"The world is confronted with a global public health crisis, decline in economic growth, and expanding areas of conflict by non-state actors.

"All these ills in their singular or combined form are consuming every nation. Nigeria is no exception; we must hold the line and lock arms that way we rid ourselves of these existential issues whilst we grapple with those that are our own homegrown problems.

"This administration is committed to doing just that, and organizations like the TUC should be extending a hand in supporting such a fight that is in our collective interest."

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