President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured the American government of his administration’s readiness to tackle corruption headlong despite some of the challenges facing the country.
The President said government remained committed to realising the key priorities of securing the country, fighting corruption, and salvaging the economy in spite of the current challenges.
Receiving the Letter of Credence of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. William Stuart Symington, at the presidential villa, Abuja, the President said the target of reversing the “culture of corruption” in the country had received support from Nigerians, with many realising the depth of damage done by some previous administrations from the ongoing investigations and prosecutions. “The corruption we met at personal and institutional levels was unbelievable. Corruption was turning into a culture.
After we came in, people started realising the truth,” he added. Buhari told the US ambassador that his administration was still determined to continue investigations and prosecution of corrupt persons in the country as “Nigeria will either kill corruption or corruption will kill Nigeria in the long run.” The President noted that the years of mishandling of the economy at a period of financial prosperity, affected the economy, making it more challenging to create employment for the youth and improve the livelihood of many Nigerians.
“It has not been easy for another party to come in and get things done properly, especially with the new economic reality of $37 per barrel of oil, against the $100 for the period, and there was no savings, no infrastructure on ground,” he said.
Buhari said the security situation in the North- East had improved significantly following support in training of the military and supply of hardware after the G-7 meeting in Germany in 2015.
“When I was invited to the G-7 meeting after my inauguration on May 29, 2015, I thought I was going to be an observer at the meeting, but without prompting, I was asked to brief the leaders on the security situation in Nigeria, and I did.
Since then, we have received support in training and military hardware, and I hope we have not disappointed,” he said. In his remarks, the US ambassador said the interest in the well being of Nigeria was of mutual benefit. Symington said he would work hard to further strengthen the relationship between his country and Nigeria, assuring that President-elect Donald Trump would also be interested in the well being of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has attributed the current economic recession besetting the country to corruption.
Magu argued that the state of affairs in the country would not be so grim, if allocations to federal, state and local governments had been judiciously applied. Magu made the observations during a visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, at the Naval headquarters, Abuja. “If 50 per cent of the allocations at the three tiers of governments are judiciously put to use, we would not be where we are in terms of underdevelopment and infrastructural decay.”
On the anti-graft war, he noted: “EFCC alone cannot fight corruption; we need all hands to be on deck.”