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We Will Soon Publish the Names of Looters – Buhari

Kayode Sesan

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will soon publish the names of persons who returned looted funds to the government.

President Buhari had disclosed during his visit to Iran that some treasury looters in the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan have started returning of stolen funds to his government.

Speaking at the Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe foundation lecture at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja, President Buhari cautioned that it is yet early to release the names of those returning funds as any disclosure now may jeopardize the possibility of bigger recoveries.

He, however, reiterated that the government owes Nigerians adequate information, and it shall come in due course, noting that it is part of the collective effort to change the country from the bastion of corruption it currently is, to a place of probity and transparency.

President Buhari also lamented that it is sad, depressing and distressing when Nigeria is being ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, adding that Nigeria can be known for better things other than corruption.

He stressed that the country must get to a point where every Nigerian begins to hate corruption with a passion, and collectively determine to root it out of our body polity.

According to him any effort to try to deal with corruption without a convinced populace will end as spasmodic, ephemeral exercise, lacking the appropriate social impact. When we are talking about corruption conventionally, it is a manifestation of the human mindset. It is the human beings that manifest corruption.

President Buhari noted that to win the war on corruption, therefore, begins with the people accepting that there is an error to be corrected in their lives, that there is a need to refocus and re-orientate the values that they cherish and hold dear ,this he said requires change of mindset, change of attitude, and change of conduct.

He also stated that in the process of trying to recover stolen funds, the government is seeking the cooperation of the countries where these loots were taken, stating that time it was, when such nations may have overlooked the country’s overtures for assistance to fight corruption.

He also decried that Nigeria has been brought almost to her knees by decades of corruption and mismanagement of the public treasury saying that we must come to a point when we all collectively say Enough!

He said “Even in my earlier years in service to our country, I had personally identified the destructive impact of corruption. Taken from the narrow perspective of the embezzlement of public funds, its social consequence of gross economic inequality alters the basis for social peace and security. “

“When given the opportunity to play a leading role in our national history in 1984, we acknowledged that corruption is not just about the embezzlement of public funds but that the perversion of our consciousness and mindset was the point at stake. This was the basis of our WAR AGAINST INDISCIPLINE (WAI) – Indiscipline in any way and manner is a form of corruption of the human essence.

“That was why we waged campaigns against indiscipline, and its many manifestations in the 1980’s during my tenure as Head of State of our great Nation.”

“Sadly in this season, we find ourselves in a Nigeria where indiscipline has been taken to an unprecedented level. The rule of law is grossly perverted, and corruption has been elevated to a way of life at all strata of the society. In striving to reorder our country and put it on the path of recovery, we have thus identified the need to tackle corruption head-on.

“In this regard, we have taken steps towards recovering a reasonable amount of the money that was looted or misappropriated from public coffers. Investigations are ongoing on public officers who served, or are still serving, and those whose conduct are questionable will be compelled to accept the path of honour and surrender their loots.”

“As I stated recently, a good number of people who abused their positions are voluntarily returning the illicit funds. I have heard it said that we should disclose the names of the people, and the amount returned. Yes, in due course, the Central Bank of Nigeria will make information available to the public on the surrendered funds, but I must remark that it is yet early days, and any disclosure now may jeopardize the possibility of bigger recoveries.



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