The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is set to go after former officials and appointees of the past administration still in possession of government properties.
President Buhari had in the past weeks, made it clear that his government intends to go after and reclaim as much of Nigeria’s stolen resources as possible.
Sources close to the Presidency disclosed that a number of former government officials are still in possession of vehicles, buildings, generator sets and other entitlements that came with their previous positions, despite vacating office three months ago.
Government, it was learnt has set up a committee made up civil servants and security agencies to recover unreturned public assets from the political appointees who just left office.
The new development was confirmed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, during an informal chat with journalists in Abuja.
“That is precisely the case,” he said. “Even here at the Villa, there are cars and other property belonging to the government which are yet to be returned.”
According to him, the Buhari administration would soon begin to demand for the return of these assets. He added that the aim was not to embarrass anyone but to return properties to government.
“The properties belong to the Nigerian people,” he said. “We are not trying to humiliate anyone by asking them to return their cars or houses.”
Responding to inquiries on if the states and local government were facing similar challenges with retrieving government property from their predecessors, Shehu said he was not in a position to confirm or deny this. He however said he would not be surprised if that was the case, as this attitude of holding on to government property even after leaving office must be a natural outcome of the culture of impunity that has prevailed in Nigeria over the past years of PDP rule.
“But change has come,” he said. “That is why we have to do things differently now.”
He reiterated the President’s commitment to running an austere government that will save the Nigerian people millions in public funds.
“Imagine how much Nigeria will save by retrieving and re-using these government properties instead of purchasing new ones for new government officials,” he said.