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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Public Officials Who Looted are Refunding it Back - Buhari


Some former public officials who looted public funds are returning them to the government’s coffers, President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
He told Nigerians living  in Teheran, the Iranian capital, during a question-and-answer session with them at the Nigerian House that his administration had intesified efforts at recovering public funds in private pockets.
The President was in Iran to attend a summit of gas producing nations. The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and host President Hassan Riouhani, among others.
President Buhari said he was not satisfied with the partial return of the “looted funds”.
“On corruption, yes, they are still innocent.
"But, we are collecting documents and some of them have started voluntarily returning something. But we want all. We want to have everything back-all that they took by force in 16 years.
“When we get those documents, then we will formally charge them to court and then we will tell Nigerians to know those, who abused trust when they were entrusted with public funds or when they took it by force for 16 years.
“So, the day of reckoning is gradually approaching.’’
President Buhari explained that those accused of corruption would have been prosecuted by now but for the need to thoroughly investigate them with a view to gathering enough evidence for their eventual trial.
He said it was easy for him, during his tenure as a military Head of State in 1984, to arrest and put suspected corrupt individuals “in protective custody’’ for them to prove their innocence.
He, however, said that now the dictates of the Rule of Law and due process had slowed him down in the prosecution of corruption cases.
The President attributed the epileptic power supply in the country to “power saboteurs who go and blow up installations’.
“I believe if you are in touch back at home you would have been told that already there is some improvement in power.
“We haven’t said anything to them yet. I think they only find it sensible or appropriate for them to try and improve power supply.
“I’m sure you know about the privatisation of the power sector. Your old friends NEPA or Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been sold to a number of interest groups.
“But, the fundamental thing about us is that we remain potentially in everything except performance.
“We have a lot of gas, we have a lot of qualified people, but again we have a lot of saboteurs who go and blow installations.
“Those, who normally steal Nigerian crude (oil) and those who blow up installations, whether they call themselves militants or whatever, they are still there.’’
He pledged to deal with such saboteurs to restore sanity in the power sector and improve service delivery to Nigerians.
He said the military task-forces with representation from Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and the secret services will be reconstituted to secure the pipelines.
“Supplies will become steady; there will be less sabotage as we secure the pipelines.”
On security, the President reassured the Nigerians of the government’s resolve to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency and restore peace in the Northeast.
The President also restated the government’s determination to address the rot in education,  beginning from the primary to the tertiary level.
He praised the Nigerian community for its good conduct, saying the government would continue to encourage more Nigerians to study in that country because of the level of discipline and orderliness there.
On healthcare delivery, President Buhari said that efforts had been intensified towards ridding the country of fake drugs and fake doctors, and also what he called “the disgraceful aspects” manifested by “baby factories”.
On creation of jobs, he placed the prevailing joblessness in the country at the door-step of the last administration, which he blamed for giving “ a devastating blow to the economy through corruption and incompetence”.
The President said something urgent would be done about the bad condition of roads, citing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway as one to be addressed from next week by the Minister of  Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who sat next to him at the meeting.
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