Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Chairman, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) Thursday in Abuja dismissed calls for the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
The eminent professor of law rejected calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack finance minister over the allegation that she skipped the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme and forged an exemption certificate.
Sagay spoke in Abuja during the workshop on the United Kingdom Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), organised by PACAC, UK National Crime Agency and the Department for International Development (DfID).
Asked what he thought about the government’s refusal to react to the issue, Sagay said: “I don’t know why the government has not reacted. But, let me tell you my reaction. This woman is a brilliant and extremely valuable member of this government.
According to him, “A lot of the good things happening now – the welfare that Nigerians are enjoying and are going to enjoy, because it takes time, and the way our economy is booming, how we got out of recession – are due to her expertise, her commitment, her sacrifice.
“There is nothing in this world that will make me remove such a woman from the government. The PDP can weep from now until there is no tear in their body; she is going to be there. We cannot afford to lose that woman.”
Asked if it was not an offence to skip NYSC, Sagay said: “Who cares about youth service? I don’t bloody care whether she did youth service or not. It’s irrelevant as far as I am concerned.”
On the allegation that she forged an exemption certificate, the PACAC chairman said: “I don’t believe it. I don’t see anything serious about not doing youth service. I don’t see anything serious about it. That’s my own bias, not government’s.
“I’m telling you now. If you ask me – If I were President Buhari, I would never, ever touch that woman because she’s damn good.
“The enemies of this government want to reduce his capacity to provide good governance by engaging in social media attacks and trying to get rid of her. It will not work.” Saraki should resign as a matter of honour, says Sagay
In a related development, Sagay faulted the freezing of Benue State’s account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), describing it as “extreme”.
He said while EFCC could investigate governors, they cannot be prosecuted since they have immunity.
“There’s nothing EFCC can do to him (Governor Samuel Ortom). They can’t arrest him. They can investigate him, put down the records of what they found, and wait for his tenure to end. Right now nobody can touch him.
“As for freezing Benue State’s account, I can’t support it. I don’t know why, but government has to function. I don’t want people to suffer because there are no funds for basic government functions.
“I don’t know if EFCC really did that; we have to be careful because it looks extreme to me,” Sagay said.