By Bashir Adefaka, Editor
President Muhammadu Buhari says one of the things that gladdens his heart in the three years of his Administration is the fact that nations of the world now cooperate with Nigeria to tighten their laws in ensuring that Nigeria’s stolen money be safe in their land while the thieves will be made to face justice.
President Buhari said this while commissioning the newly completed building that is the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Abuja, on Tuesday.
This is the first time the EFCC will be having a building that it can now call its own and, incidentally, it happened under the watch of Buhari Administration.
The President said government was committed to working with its foreign friends to stop the inflow of stolen funds from Nigeria into their countries and recovering what is there already.
He added that when repatriated, the assets would be put to building the country’s infrastructure at home.
The commissioning was attended along with the President former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, Secretary-General of The Commonwealth, Ms Patricia Scotland, Nigeria’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and, of course, the Acting of the EFCC, who is a Police Commissioner by rank, Mallam Ibrahim Mustapha Magu.
Although the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had paid a surprise visit to the EFCC edifice a couple of week ago during which he described the Magu’s effort as fantastic, he was conspicuously absent at the commissioning of the EFCC Headquarters by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday.
It would be recalled Saraki has been accused of frustrating the anti-corruption war of the Buhari Administration by having permanently killed the two Bills to strengthen the crusade sent to him by the President since December 2015.
Saraki’s Senate, it is also said, has continued to frustrate the crusade by ensuring that Magu is not confirmed as substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
Read details of the President’s speech at the event as follows:
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE COMMISSIONING OF EFCC HEADQUARTERS IN ABUJA, TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018
This is another milestone in our determined and collective fight against corruption.
- Throughout my journey in national service and since 2015, I have made a very conscious decision to pursue a vigorous fight against corruption in public life.
- Since 2015, we have made significant progress in the fight against corruption. Everyone now knows that corrupt officials will be held to account, no matter how long it takes.
- We have recovered and are still recovering trillions of naira that were stolen in the past few years by people without conscience.
- We are pursuing recoveries everywhere and are making sure that anyone who has been found culpable is made to answer for his or her crime under the law.
- It is my hope and expectation that the judiciary, which is a critical stakeholder and partner in the war against corruption, would continue to collaborate with the Executive to bring corrupt people to book.
- Permit me to also seize this opportunity to call on the Legislature which provides the legal framework for the anti-corruption war to add more verve to the determination of government to rid our nation of the brazen corruption witnessed in recent years, through reviewing archaic provisions in our laws and proactive passage of new legislation.
- Ladies and gentlemen, an American author and philanthropist, Anthony Robbins once said:“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” He was saying, in other words, that if you are determined, no obstacle will be big enough to stand in your way.
- What I see here is not only a structure of concrete and metal, I see in this edifice, the resolve of Nigerians to fight corruption. But structures are not the whole story. We must CHANGE our ways of handling public trust. Corruption not only kills governments but destroys societies. It is the major reason why we are struggling with basic developmental issues that other comparable nations have long overcome.
- War of corruption is not an easy one to fight, because it affects so many different branches of our lives, so much that some people do not even consider breaking trust is anymore a crime. It has become the norm. That is why we must fight this attitude and encourage Nigerians to CHANGE their attitudes and perspectives.
- The goal of this Administration is to ensure the protection of public trust, and the anti-corruption war is at its centre. We never intended, and we are not engaged in witch-hunts, but we are determined within the laws to call people to account.
- It is for this reason that we appeal to Nigerians to support regulatory agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, because fighting corruption is everyone’s concern. I call on the Judiciary and the National Assembly to join hands in this national effort.
- I am glad to note that quite a number of nations are signifying interest to help us tighten their laws and enter into agreements with Nigeria to repatriate not only stolen funds but to make the culprits face due process of law.
- We are committed to working with our foreign friends to stop the inflow of stolen funds from Nigeria into their countries and recovering what is there already. These assets, when repatriated will be put to building our infrastructure.
- It is my pleasure to perform the opening ceremony of the “Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Headquarters”.
Thank you all.