President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, asked Nigerians to reject politicians that will drag the country back to the era when corruption in the 2023 general elections.
Buhari said he is leaving behind a legacy of zero-tolerance for corruption for Nigeria’s teeming youths and to every citizen.
“In a matter of weeks, Nigerians will need to go to the polls again to elect their leaders in the general elections. I beseech Nigerians to reject politicians who would drag our country back to the dark ages in which corruption was made the order of the day,” Buhari said on Thursday at a conference on Fighting Corruption in Nigeria organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), in Abuja.
“For me, corruption is evil and must be vehemently rejected in all ramifications by all Nigerians anywhere, anytime. It is by integrity, respect for rule of law, due process and genuine patriotism that we will make Nigeria the nation of our dream,” the president added.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha at the conference, further tasked anti-corruption Agencies to concentrate more on asset forfeiture regimes in addition to prosecution to deny looters the gains from the proceeds of their crime, to effectiveness the war against corruption.
He stated that all looted assets within and outside Nigeria must be recovered and used for the well-being of citizens while the looters will be prosecuted and convicted if found culpable.
“So far, I am happy to say that a lot has been achieved by our anti-Corruption agencies, law enforcement agencies, and regulatory bodies in the fight against corruption, and I make bold to say that Nigerians have known that as your President, I abhor corruption. It is clear that I have neither shielded nor ordered the arrest of anyone. Rather, I gave our anti-corruption agencies enough resources (human financial and material) to deliver on their mandates,” Buhari also said.
In his address, Itse Sagay, Chairman, PACAC said the committee, working with anti-corruption agencies and relevant stakeholders, made significant contributions in the war against corruption but noted that a lot more work still needs to be done to rid Nigeria of corruption.
“In terms of achievements, PACAC has performed far beyond the expectations of both itself, the federal government and the donors. In capacity building alone, we have conducted over 60 activities. The impact of this effort is reflected in increased number of cases filed and concluded and the improvement in the rate of conviction of looters.
“The impact of the strategy workshops on Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery has been amazing. Total recoveries are hovering around the N1 Trillion mark, and even more remarkably these recoveries have been recycled into the budget to uplift the oppressed and most vulnerable victims of corruption,” he said.
“One striking contribution of PACAC in the war against corruption is the Committee’s concentration on Illicit Financial Flows. This means the illegal moving of money from developing countries to the coffers of developed countries through commercial transactions and other methods. Very little was known about IFF in this country before PACAC brought it into centre stage. Now, we know that this silent, quietly stalking source of financial bleeding, could even be worse in terms of volume of loss, than the typical looting we are all used to,” the chairman further said.
Sagay, however, decried that despite success recorded in the war against corruption, Nigerians are in a frustrating state of denial which has given Transparency International the opportunity of taking Nigeria down its annual record.
The Chairman also regretted that the judiciary was not supportive of the war against corruption. He said the war against corruption cannot he won unless the judiciary shows more commitment.