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Treasury looters now returning stolen funds – Buhari

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… Warns saboteurs in power sector to stop

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

President Muhammadu Buhari in Tehran, Iran on Tuesday disclosed that many of the those who looted the public treasuries in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan had started returning stolen funds to the coffers.

He said that though the government appreciated the development, it was still not enough to condone corruption, stressing that his government would,still prosecute them in due course.

He stated that the prosecution of suspects is taking time because the government is painstakingly gathering hard evidence against them.

President who spoke during a meeting with the Nigerian community in Iran decried the constraints inherent in democracy, recalling that it was easier for him as a military Head of State in 1985 to arrest corrupt individuals and put in protective custody for them to prove their innocence than in the present democratic practice.

He acknowledged that under the rule of law, the suspects are presumed innocent until convicted by the law.

He said: “On corruption; yes, they are still innocent. But, we are collecting documents and some of them have started voluntarily returning something. But we want all.

“When we get those documents we will formally charge them to court and then we will tell Nigerians to know those who abused trust when they are entrusted with public funds. So, the day of reckoning is gradually approaching.”

Speaking on power generation and distribution, president Buhari stated that though his government was yet to give a comprehensive policy direction in the sector, there was still an improvement.

He however condemned those who sabotaged the efforts of the government in the sector.

He said “I believe if you are in touch back at home you would have been told that already there is some improvement in power.

“We haven’t said anything to them yet. I think they only find it sensible or appropriate for them to try and improve the power.

“I’m sure you know about the privatization of the power sector; your old friends NEPA or Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been sold to a number of interest groups. But, the fundamental thing about us is that we remain potential in everything except performance.

“We have a lot of gas, we have a lot of qualified people but again we have a lot of saboteurs who go and blow installations. Those who normally steal Nigerian crude and those who blow up installations, whether they called themselves militants or whatever, they are still there.”

On insecurity, the president assured that peace would soon return to the troubled north east even as he stated that his administration would also revive the educational system from primary to tertiary levels.

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