President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his determination to bring to justice those who have stolen national resources and recover looted funds.
President Buhari made the vow during a meeting with members of the National Peace Committee headed by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) on Tuesday.
According to a statement released through the Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhar told the committee that his government was “irrevocably” committed to doing all within its powers to break the vicious cycle of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria. “Nigeria has to break this vicious cycle before we can make progress”, the president said, stressing that his government was diligently getting facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds, before kick-starting prosecution of culprits.
“We have really degenerated as a country. Our national institutions, including the military, which did wonderfully on foreign missions in the past, have been compromised. But we are doing something about it. The military is now retraining and morale has been resuscitated.
“As Petroleum Minister under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1970s, I could not travel abroad until I had taken a memo to the Federal Executive Council asking for estacode. Now, everybody does what he wants.
“That is why security-wise and economically, we’re in trouble,” President Buhari told his guests, adding that those who have stolen the national wealth “will be in court in a matter of weeks and Nigerians will know those who have short-changed them.”
Buhari also told the committee that under his leadership, the Federal Government would ask for the return of stolen funds stashed in foreign banks and ensure that those who stole the funds are put on trial in Nigeria. He also disclosed that his administration was reorganising the country’s revenue generating institutions as part of its actions to address the national problems it inherited.
According to Adesina, Buhari explained further to the committee that the newly introduced Single Treasury Account for all Federal revenue was designed to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.
The presidential spokesman also disclosed that Buhari granted the National Peace Committee, formed before the 2015 general elections, the permission to transform to National Peace Council. Members of the National Peace Committee who accompanied General Abubakar on the visit were Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
Others were Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd), Prof Ameze Guobadia, Vanguard Newspaper Publisher, Sam Amuka-Pemu, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Senator Ben Obi, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, and Dr Arthur-Martin Aginam.
By Olisemeka Obeche