• Friday, March 01, 2024
businessday logo


Trial of treasury looters to start in weeks says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari says his government will in a few weeks commence the prosecution of persons alleged to have stolen national resources.

HBuhari also said those who pillaged the national treasury would be tried in Nigeria, whether or not they returned their loot.

According to the president, those who have stolen the national wealth “will be in court in a matter of weeks and Nigerians will know those who have short-changed them.”

Speaking at a meeting with members of the National Peace Committee led by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in the Presidential Villa, President Buhari declared that his administration was irrevocably committed to doing all within its power to break the cycle of corruption, treasury looting, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has to break this vicious circle before we can make progress,” the President said in a statement issued by the Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina at the end of the closed door meeting between the President and the committee.

He said it was time the country broke the vicious circle of corruption and impunity so as to make progress, adding that his administration was diligently gathering facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds, before proceeding to the prosecution of identified culprits.

The Peace Committee had earlier told journalists at the Presidential Villa  that members were not averse to the President’s corruption crusade but concerned about the process involved.


President Buhari had also during the meeting, told General Abdulsalami and members of the committee that the Federal Government, under his watch, will ask for the return of stolen funds that have been stashed in foreign banks and ensure that those who stole the funds answered for their offence.

The President also said that as part of actions to address the national problems it inherited, his administration is reorganising the country’s revenue generating institutions.

Buhari had also explained that the Single Treasury Account (TSA) mechanism, had been established for all federal revenue to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.

“We have really degenerated as a country”, the president said. He added,  “Our national institutions, including the military which did wonderfully on foreign missions in the past, has been compromised. But we are doing something about it. The military is now retraining and morale has been resuscitated.

“As petroleum minister under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1970s, I could not travel abroad until I had taken a memo to the Federal Executive Council asking for estacode. Now, everybody does what he wants.

“That is why security-wise and economically, we’re in trouble,” President Buhari told the committee.

Gen. Abubakar and members of his committee  urged the Federal Government to be guided by the rule of law in its fight against corruption.

Members of the National Peace Committee who accompanied Gen Abubakar on the visit were Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of  Nigeria (CAN) and  Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Others are Justice Rose Ukeje (rtd), Ameze Guobadia, Vanguard Newspaper Publisher, Sam Amuka, Priscilla Kuye, Senator Ben Obi, Yunusa Tanko, and Arthur-Martin Aginam.

The National Peace Committee which was formed before the 2015 general elections has been granted  permission by the President to transform into the National Peace Council.

Elizabeth Archibong