Democracy Day: No hiding place for looters – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that there is no hiding place for fugitives who plundered the resources of the nation.
The president reiterated this in his Democracy Day speech which aired Tuesday at 7:00 a.m.
The president noted that the fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of billions of Naira.
The anti-graft fight has also led to forfeiture of various forms of assets which has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation, he said.
“We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations,” Mr Buhari said.
“Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.”
According to the president, various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results.
Some of these key reform policies, he said, include the Treasury Single Account, the Whistle Blowing Policy, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing, among others.
“The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realised Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.
“The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 billion.
“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll.
“The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.”
The president also explained that the Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of $650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of infrastructure.
He listed some of the projects to include the Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
The Nigerian government has in recent time made significant headway in the recovery of assets believed to have been stolen by past government officials.
Earlier in May, the federal government announced that $320 million stolen funds by late military dictator, Sani Abacha , would be spent on the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme of the administration to support the poor.
Speaking further on Tuesday, the president reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption.
“The second primary object of this administration is to fight corruption headlong,” he said.
“Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country.
“Three years into this administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.”