Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would not interfere in the work of security and anti-corruption agencies if they decided to move against former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Osinbajo, who said the current administration did not believe in arbitrary arrests, explained that the agencies of government were being empowered to do their jobs without undue interference.
The vice president, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, spoke on Friday in Houston, Texas in the United States at a meeting he had with Nigerians based in the US.
He was said to have answered questions on the economy, the anti-corruption war, the recent arrest of judges and the menace of herdsmen in parts of the country, as well as community policing.
The statement read, “Answering a question from the Internet on when former President Jonathan would be arrested, Osinbajo pointed out that the Buhari administration was not in the business of arresting people anyhow.
“He said all the Buhari administration did was to empower the security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs, without the administration trying to teleguide (monitor) them,”
Osinbajo was also quoted as saying that the fight against corruption in the country was not based on ethnic, hasty or premeditated grounds.
He said, “Corruption is not an ethnic thing, there is an equal representation in the stealing as no one operates with his or her ethnic group alone, the culprits are in every case seen so far, united by greed to steal and not by ethnic or religious interest.”
Osinbajo disclosed that as much as $15bn had been stolen from the national coffers by individuals.
He said no responsible government would wave that aside so as not to offend people.
Commenting on the recent arrest of some judges in the country, Osinbajo said the Federal Government was only exercising its executive function in attempting to check excesses.
He said impunity could be dangerous in any sector.
He said due process was followed as the judges were released about 24 hours after their arrest, having written their statements.
Osinbajo also disclosed that security agencies have arrested about 800 suspected herdsmen across the country in relation to violent attacks on innocent people.
He said, “The President has given firm instructions to the security agencies to arrest not only herdsmen, who are attacking communities anywhere in the country, but anyone of them or anyone at all in possession of firearms.
“There are about 800 of suspected violent herdsmen in the country who are currently in custody,” he said.
The vice president, however, lamented that the slow pace of the criminal justice system was affecting the prompt trial of such suspects.
Osinbajo said killings by violent herdsmen had been a perennial issue, especially as grazing lands continue to disappear over the years with the cattle feeding on people’s crops on the farmlands.
He clarified that the matter did not start when President Buhari assumed office.
Answering questions on the need for community policing, the vice president indicated that community policing via state police was a cardinal programme of the ruling party.
He, however, said the party’s agenda could not be introduced until there was an amendment to the nation’s constitution.
“The Federal Government is currently working to introduce community policing, that would be in line with the constitution,” he said.
He also responded to a question on the state of the nation’s economy and attributed the current recession to the loss of about 60 per cent of government revenue due to pipeline vandalism and endemic corruption in the country.
He, however, stated that getting back oil production was a sure way to get out of the recession.