11 August 2015, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the prosecution of persons found to have stolen national resources would begin in a matter of weeks.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the President as speaking while granting audience to members of the National Peace Committee led by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“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,” the President told his guests.
Adesina said Buhari told the delegation 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,” the President said.
He added that his administration was diligently getting facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds before proceeding to the prosecution of identified culprits.
Buhari also told members of the 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 as part of its actions to address the national problems it inherited, his administration was reorganising Nigeria’s revenue generating institutions.
He said 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.
Buhari said, “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.
“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.”
Abubakar and members of his committee urged the Federal Government to be guided by the rule of law in its fight against corruption.
Members of the National Peace Committee who accompanied Gen Abubakar on the visit were Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
Others were Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd), Prof Ameze Guobadia, Vanguard Newspaper Publisher, Sam Amuka; Dame Priscilla Kuye, Senator Ben Obi, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, and Dr. Arthur-Martin Aginam.
The National Peace Committee, formed before the 2015 general elections, was granted permission by the President to transform to a National Peace Council.