Nigerian Senator wants Buhari to grant amnesty to treasury looters

A senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, on Sunday said President Buhari should order a six-month moratorium on the arrest and prosecution of suspected looters.

Mr. Melaye said doing so would encourage those who had defrauded the country while in public service to return their ill-gotten cash and asset back to the federal coffers.

Mr. Melaye’s recommendation was contained in an Independence Day message he posted on his Facebook page Sunday afternoon.

“I sincerely want to recommend that Mr. President grant presidential amnesty or pardon to all those who looted our treasury provided they return all proceeds of their loot to the government within six months of the declaration of the amnesty,” Mr. Melaye said. “This, I believe will encourage the voluntary return of the looted funds.”

Mr. Melaye said the refund, if properly coordinated, will help mitigate the impact the lingering economic hardship is having on Nigerians — especially those on the bottom of the economic ladder.

It will “empower the government financially to immediately commence the implementation of projects and programmes that will stimulate the economy and raise the people’s’ standard of living.”

Mr. Melaye said his option is better than the current “fruitless” endeavour of using state agents to pursue suspects who could afford formidable legal representatives that would manipulate the law to frustrate judicial process or even evade justice.

It will “save the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies the agony of fruitlessly pursuing the looters in and out of the courtrooms,” Mr. Melaye said.

Sunday’s recommendation is the second from Mr. Melaye in a month.

On September 4, less than a week after the country officially slipped into recession, he urged Mr. Buhari to immediately dismiss some of his ministers as part of his administration’s response to the emergency economic situation.

Mr. Buhari’s clampdown on corruption in public service has seen several politicians who served in the last administration arrested and taken before a court or other anti-corruption tribunals within the last one year.

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