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Buhari to looters: Refund or go to jail

…Jonathan sent troops to war without arms

President Muhammadu Buhari has told those who shared in the $2 billion fund meant for arms procurement to refund the money or face prosecution and end up in jail. Speaking during an interview with BBC Hausa Service on Christmas Eve, Buhari said his government has enough documents on how people stole and shared public funds among themselves. He noted that the documents in the possession of the Federal Government would be used to bring the culprits to book. The president stated that bribery and corruption were basically suffocating Nigeria. “If we don’t kill these monsters – bribery and corruption –, this country would go down,” he said.

“That is why those who stole monies meant for arms procurement and shared it among themselves are being arrested and are being shown documents, so that they would be asked to refund the money or face prosecution. “We would use those documents to prove what they stole, collect all the assets acquired from the proceeds and then jail them.”

Notable Nigerians have been mentioned in the $2.1 billion arms procurement scandal involving the office of the erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd). Former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, erstwhile Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, and his son, Sagir; former Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu; ex-Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa, as well as his companies, Acacia Holding Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited are facing trial along with Dasuki over the $2 billion arms procurement scandal. Former Minister of Defence and Acting Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed, and his son, Abbah, will be arraigned in court this week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged collection of N600 million from the arms deal.

Yuguda has revealed that he gave N100 million to six PDP leaders including Alhaji Yerima Abdullahi, former Governors Peter Odili (Rivers) and Jim Nwobodo (old Enugu) for the 2015 elections. In the interview translated by an online portal, Premium Times, Buhari said his administration al-located 30 per cent of the 2016 Budget to capital projects to address insecurity, massive unemployment, bribery and corruption. His words: “During the campaigns, we said Nigeria is facing three things and nobody disputed that assertion. First, there was widespread insecurity, war in the North-East, while the country’s oil was being stolen at random in the south.

“Second, there is massive unemployment, 62 per cent of the nation’s population are youths from the age of 35 years downward; most of them are unemployed, including those who went to school and those who did not; that is a serious problem. Therefore, it has become necessary to restore peace and create employment. That is why we are returning to agriculture and mineral resources….”

While expressing displeasure on insurgency in some parts of the North-East, Buhari said the military was unable to cage the Boko Haram sect because people were sent to war without arms and ammunition by officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. He said his administration has met the December deadline of bringing an end to Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, adding that the sect is no longer in a position to threaten Nigeria. “I want people to understand that after I settled down and got good grasp of what the country is going through, we removed all the service chiefs and appointed new ones.

We also undertook an investigation and found out how the monies meant for arms procurement were diverted and shared by officials in the last administration. They sent the boys to the war front without arms and ammunition, leading some of them to mutiny after which they were arrested and detained.

“We have been able to raise money and fund the war. Go and ask the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa; how many of their local governments were under the control of insurgents? And how many are currently still under the insurgents? Maybe we would not win the war completely by the end of the month, but the insurgents have now resorted to putting on explosive vests on young children, mostly girls aged 15 and below and then sending them to markets, mosques and churches to detonate. “Boko Haram themselves know that the era of them taking over communities and local governments are over. If people would be fair to us, they would know that the Nigerian Army has basically met the deadline and are winning the war. You cannot find any significant number of Boko Haram members in Adamawa, and Yobe, only maybe in about three local governments of Borno in the area around our borders with Chad Republic.

They are not in a position to threaten Nigeria now. So, we have won,” he declared. The president also revealed that his government inherited about N2.2 trillion debt and promised to do the needful to block all leakages for government to make more money to run Nigeria despite the fall in the price of oil.

“As a government, we inherited N1.5 trillion domestic debt and when foreign debt is added we have about N2.2 trillion. Everybody knows Nigeria is not a poor country, we are rich, and we have human resources; the problem had been that leadership did not take seriously curbing corrupt tendencies.

“Apart from highlighting our debt profile, we have also shown the changes we have made in the Customs. For instance, how much we are making from the Customs Service, how much from petroleum, that is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); how much we are making from the ports. There have been lots of leakages in these sectors. If we block these leakages, we would make much more money to run the country despite the fall in the price of oil,” he said.
New Telegraph