By Livinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — In what appears like a response to the allegations by, especially, members of the opposition that the anti-corruption war was targeted at them, President Muhammadu Buhari said, yesterday, that the crusade was not meant to humiliate anyone but to recover stolen funds.
He also said the government would not embarrass any individual or group but merely interested in instituting justice and fairness for all, even as he said his administration was making effort to give Nigerians fresh political and social orientation that would herald a change of attitude from what obtained in the past.
President Buhari, however, reiterated his resolve to continue with the war until the funds were all returned, stressing that the country needed the money.
The President, who spoke at a meeting with the Council of Abuja Imams at State House, also revealed that measures carefully being taken by the government to weather the crisis in the Niger Delta would eventually herald long term peace and stability in the region, adding that government was resolute and relentless with the war against Boko Haram terrorism.
“We have no plan to humiliate or embarrass anyone through these actions. We are merely interested in instituting justice and fairness for all. Whoever is caught as having stolen from the public will be forced to return the loot to the treasury. The nation needs the money,” he said.
On the current economic meltdown in the country, President Buhari said his government was aware of challenges of life facing the average citizen, and appealed to Muslim religious leaders to preach the message of hope to the people that the situation would not persist for too long.
Buhari said government chose to give priority to agriculture to create jobs for unemployed citizens and give the country food security.
He also intimated the Imams on the efforts to improve power supply in the country with on-going efforts to bring foreign investment from China and some friendly countries that indicated willingness to develop the proposed Mambila and other hydro-electric power projects in the country.
Fresh political and social orientation
At a separate meeting with health experts, led by the Chief Executive Officer of Gavi and The Global Fund, Dr. Seth Berkley, at State House, President Buhari said his administration was making effort to give Nigerians fresh political and social orientation that would herald a change of attitude from what obtained in the past.
He also assured that the lapses that had characterized Nigeria as a nation would be corrected.
Buhari said he was impressed with the patience and steadfastness of leading supporters of health care in Nigeria, “despite our shortcomings as a nation,” and thanked the team for coming back to Nigeria.
Responding, Dr Berkley, who had earlier noted that the three focal points of Buhari’s administration— security, economic development, and anti-corruption were — critical to the future of Nigeria, had raised issues over the way donor funds for health care were utilized in the past.
He said Gavi and the Global Fund were disappointed when forensic audit revealed systemic weaknesses and corruption in the utilization of funds given in the past, adding that there was now a “breath of fresh air” under President Buhari’s leadership and fight against corruption.
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who was also at the event, disclosed that those indicted in the audit of the donor funds in the past, which was done between 2010 and 2015, had already been questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and would be arraigned in court soon.