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Buhari ties high cost of governance in Nigeria to massive corruption, vows to fight back

Femi Adesina
Femi Adesina
Femi Adesina, a Nigerian journalist, is the special adviser on media and publicity to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. This is an official statement from him. The headline might have been adjusted.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday hosted members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) at State House, Abuja, promising to beam the searchlight on cost of governance, and weed out possible corruption that exists anywhere.

President Buhari departs Abuja for South Africa on a 3-day Official Visit on 2nd Oct 2019
President Buhari departs Abuja for South Africa on a 3-day Official Visit on 2nd Oct 2019

The President appreciated members of the committee for the “major sacrifice “they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noting, “Some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”

Recalling experience of the past, in which assets were seized from officials who couldn’t explain how they got them, “only for those assets to be returned to them when government was changed,” President Buhari vowed that such would not recur, as he had given instructions that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.”

President Buhari participates at 59th Independence Anniversary Celebration in State House on 1st Oct 2019
President Buhari participates at 59th Independence Anniversary Celebration in State House on 1st Oct 2019

“Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury, and give back to those people, as was done in the past,” the President added.

Chairman of PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay, who led the delegation, said Nigeria was lucky more than ever to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of government.

“We congratulate you for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC,” Prof Sagay added.

President Buhari departs Abuja for South Africa on a 3-day Official Visit on 2nd Oct 2019
President Buhari departs Abuja for South Africa on a 3-day Official Visit on 2nd Oct 2019

He said the committee trains, builds capacity of anti-corruption agencies, and has helped to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which is recording great successes.

PACAC made some recommendations to the President, in order to move the anti-corruption war many steps forward. They include, reestablishment of the jury system for criminal cases in the country; setting up of a judicial commission on corruption in the judiciary, to be headed by retired judges under the auspices of National Judicial Council (NJC); passage of Proceeds of Crime Act by the National Assembly; the setting up of a Presidential Truth and Restitution Task Force; and a closer look at the cost of governance to weed out all vestiges of corruption.

President Buhari pledged that government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests.

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