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President Buhari has admitted that anti-corruption war is not an easy one to fight.
This, according to him, is because corruption “affects so many different branches of our lives so much that some people do not even consider breaking trust is anymore a crime. It has become the norm.
“That is why we must fight this attitude and encourage Nigerians to CHANGE their attitudes and perspectives.”
President Buhari said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the commissioning of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Headquarters.
The president said throughout his journey in national service and since 2015, he had made a very conscious decision to pursue a vigorous fight against corruption in public life.
“Since 2015, we have made significant progress in the fight against corruption. Everyone now knows that corrupt officials will be held to account, no matter how long it takes.
“The goal of this administration is to ensure the protection of public trust, and the anti-corruption war is at its centre,” the president stated.
He said his administration never never intended and was not engaged in witch-hunts, but was determined within the laws to call people to account.
He appealed to Nigerians to support regulatory agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission “because fighting corruption is everyone’s concern.”
The president specifically called on the judiciary and the National Assembly to join hands in this national effort.
He said his administration had recovered and was still recovering trillions of naira that were stolen in the past few years “by people without conscience.
“We are pursuing recoveries everywhere and are making sure that anyone who has been found culpable is made to answer for his or her crime under the law.
“It is my hope and expectation that the judiciary, which is a critical stakeholder and partner in the war against corruption, would continue to collaborate with the executive to bring corrupt people to book.”
The president called on the legislature to add more verve to the determination of his government to rid the nation of the “brazen corruption witnessed in recent years, through reviewing archaic provisions in our laws and proactive passage of new legislation.”
“What I see here is not only a structure of concrete and metal, I see in this edifice, the resolve of Nigerians to fight corruption. But structures are not the whole story. We must CHANGE our ways of handling public trust. Corruption not only kills governments, but destroys societies. It is the major reason why we are struggling with basic developmental issues that other comparable nations have long overcome.”
Buhari noted that quite a number of nations were signifying interest in helping Nigeria tighten their laws and enter into agreements with the country to repatriate stolen funds and make the culprits face due process of law.
He said his government was committed to working with the nation’s foreign friends to stop the inflow of stolen funds from Nigeria into their countries and recovering what is there already.
The president assured that those assets, when repatriated, would be put to building infrastructure.