Says ‘we are negotiating release of Chibok girls’
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—President Muhammadu Buhari has said the responsibility of naming looters of national assets and details of the loot will fall on the Ministry of Information.
The President also said the Federal Government was currently negotiating the release of school girls abducted at Chibok Secondary School in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents.
Recall that the President had at various times, assured Nigerians of making public the details of the money recovered from looters during his Democracy Day national address.
But while making the broadcast yesterday, the President, who acknowledged that some significant amount of assets, including money, had been recovered, said the Ministry would soon give full details.
He said: “We are also engaged in making recoveries of stolen assets, some of which are in different jurisdictions. The processes of recovery can be tedious and time-consuming but today, I can confirm that thus far: significant amount of assets have been recovered.
“A considerable portion of these are at different stages of recovery. Full details of the status and categories of the assets will now be published by the Ministry of Information and updated periodically.”
The President said funds would be ploughed back into the national treasuries when forfeiture formalities were completed.
“When forfeiture formalities are completed, these monies will be credited to the treasury and be openly and transparently used in funding developmental projects and the public will be informed,” he said.
Rescue of Amina Ali, one of 219 Chibok school girls
On the rescue of the remaining Chibok school girls, President Buhari said: “Fellow citizens let me end on a happy note. To the delight of all, two of the abducted Chibok girls have regained their freedom. During the last one year, not a single day passed without my agonizing about these girls. Our efforts have centred around negotiations to free them safely from their mindless captors.
‘’We are still pursuing that course. Their safety is of paramount concern to me and I am sure to most Nigerians. I am very worried about the conditions those still captured might be in. Today I re-affirm our commitment to rescuing our girls. We will never stop until we bring them home safely. As I said before, no girl should be put through the brutality of forced marriage and every Nigerian girl has the right to an education and a life choice.”
He paid special tribute to the gallant soldiers who had been in trenches fighting the insurgents for other Nigerians to live in peace.
We ‘ll deal with militants who dare govt
Speaking on the attacks on major oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta, the President also said the government would engage with the leaders of the zone to stop further attacks.
He, however, said that government would wield the big stick against the militants should they continue to dare it.
“On the Niger Delta, we are committed to implementing the United Nations Environment Programme report and are advancing clean-up operations. I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the delta communities. Re-engineering the amnesty programmes is an example of this.
“The recent spate of attacks by militants disrupting oil and power installations will not distract us from engaging leaders in the region in addressing Niger Delta problems. If the militants and vandals are testing our resolve, they are making a big mistake. We shall apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice,” he said.
What we inherited
The President said further: “The past years have witnessed huge flows of oil revenues. From 2010, average oil prices were $100 per barrel. But economic and security conditions were deteriorating. We campaigned and won the election on the platform of restoring security, tackling corruption and restructuring the economy.
‘’On our arrival, the oil price had collapsed to as low as $30 per barrel and we found nothing had been kept for the rainy day. Oil prices have been declining since 2014 but due to the neglect of the past, the country was not equipped to halt the economy from declining.
“The infrastructure, notably rail, power, roads were in a decrepit state. All the four refineries were in a state of disrepair, the pipelines and depots neglected.
“On the economic front, all oil dependent countries, Nigeria included, have been struggling since the drop in prices. Many oil rich states have had to take tough decisions similar to what we are doing. The world, Nigeria included has been dealing with the effects of three significant and simultaneous global shocks starting in 2014:
“A 70 per cent drop in oil prices. Global growth slowdown. Normalization of monetary policy by the United States federal reserve.
“Our problems as a government are like that of a farmer who in a good season harvests ten bags of produce. The proceeds enable him to get by for rest of the year. However, this year he could only manage 3 bags from his farm. He must now think of other ways to make ends meet.”
What we have done in one year
President Buhari also highlighted the achievements of his government in the last one year, scoring himself high on anti-corruption war.
“From day one, we purposely set out to correct our condition, to change Nigeria. We reinforced and galvanized our armed forces with new leadership and resources. We marshaled our neighbours in a joint task force to tackle and defeat Boko Haram. By the end of December 2015, all but pockets and remnants had been routed by our gallant armed forces. Our immediate focus is for a gradual and safe return of internally displaced persons in safety and dignity and for the resumption of normalcy in the lives of people living in these areas,” he sad.