President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday in Abuja, vowed that billions of dollars stolen from government coffers by past government officials would be recovered by his government. Speaking with state governors during his maiden meeting with them at the State House, President Buhari said what happened in government in the recent past was worse than what happened during the Second Republic which led to the overthrow of the Shagari administration, but promised that he would do his best to restore sanity to the system.
Speaking on the economy, “There are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency. But all these were thrown to the dogs in the past. Honestly, our problems are great, but we will do our best to surmount them. The next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered, and we will do our best,“ the President told the governors. He, however, assured state governors that the days of impunity, lack of accountability, and fiscal recklessness in the management of national resources are over in Nigeria. While expressing shock that the state governors would allow the money in the excess crude account to be spent without accountability since 2011, President Buhari noted that he would address the issue shortly.
The President declared that the payment of national revenue into any account other than the Federation Account was an abuse of the constitution, adding that what he heard was going on in many agencies and corporations, particularly the NNPC, was clearly illegal. On the refund of monies spent on federal projects by state governments, President Buhari assured the governors that the Federal Government will pay, but insisted that due process must be followed. The President also promised special assistance for the three North-Eastern badly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
President Buhari further said, that his administration has received firm assurances of cooperation from the United States and other countries on the recovery and repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria. Meanwhile, President Buhari said in Abuja, yesterday, that his administration has received firm assurances of cooperation from the United States and other countries on the recovery and repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria.
Speaking at an audience with members of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, President Buhari said that it was now up to Nigeria to provide the international community with the facts and figures needed to drive the recovery effort. “In the next three months, our administration will be busy getting those facts and the figures to help us recover our stolen funds in foreign countries,” the President told the traditional rulers.
Citing the report submitted by the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee, President Buhari said that several revenue-generating institutions in the country have been compromised, leading to a weak economy. On insecurity, the President said that the traditional rulers could play a key role in stemming terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria by assisting the government with cost-effective intelligence gathering. President Buhari also assured the traditional rulers that his administration was working hard to end insecurity and terrorism in the country in the shortest possible time with the cooperation of neighbouring countries and the international community.
Sultan Abubakar had earlier presented the Northern Traditional Rulers’ recommendations to the President on issues related to national development. The Sultan told the President that as custodians of tradition and stakeholders in the Nigerian project, the traditional rulers had a responsibility to always advise political leaders on the “path of truth and justice”. Tuesday’s meeting was at the instance of the governors in a bid to address the crippling economic situation in some states which was responsible for non-payment of salaries by several states. To address the situation, President Buhari announced the setting up of a committee under the leadership of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to look at the Excess Crude Account and see what can be shared immediately to cushion the effects of the economic crunch on the states.