Trial of looters starts soon, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says the prosecution of persons who have stolen the nation’s resources “will begin in a matter of weeks”. Speaking at a meeting with members of the national peace committee led by Abdulsalami Abubakar at the presidential villa on Tuesday, Buhari declared that “his administration 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,” he said, adding that his “administration was diligently getting facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds, before proceeding to the prosecution of identified culprits.” According to Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari told Abdulsalami and members of his committee that the federal government, under his leadership, would not only ask for the return of stolen funds that have been stashed in foreign banks, but would also ensure that those who stole the funds are put on trial in Nigeria. The president also said that as part of its actions to address the national problems it inherited, his administration was reorganising Nigeria’s revenue generating institutions. The president explained that a single treasury account had been established for all federal revenue to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds. “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,” he said. “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,” 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.” Abubakar and members of his committee urged the federal government to be guided by the rule of law in its fight against corruption.

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