Buhari pledges to beam searchlight on cost of governance

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday ordered anti-corruption agencies to take a closer look at the cost of governance in Nigeria with a view to eliminating ghost workers and vestiges of corruption in the system.

Speaking when he hosted members of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) at State House, Abuja, Buhari promised to beam the searchlight on the cost of governance, and weed out possible corruption that exists anywhere.

This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina in Abuja.

Adesina noted that the President appreciated members of the committee for the “major sacrifice they have made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noting, “Some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”

Recalling the experience of the past, in which assets were seized from officials who could not explain how they got them, “only for those assets to be returned to them when the government was changed” stressing that such would not recur.

The President has given instructions that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.”

“Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury, and give back to those people, as was done in the past,” the President added.

Chairman of PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay, who led the delegation, said Nigeria was lucky more than ever to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of the government.

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“We congratulate you for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC,” Prof Sagay added.

He said the committee trains, build the capacity of anti-corruption agencies, and has helped to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which is recording great successes.

PACAC made some recommendations to the President, in order to move the anti-corruption war many steps forward. They include, reestablishment of the jury system for criminal cases in the country; setting up of a judicial commission on corruption in the judiciary, to be headed by retired judges under the auspices of National Judicial Council (NJC); passage of Proceeds of Crime Act by the National Assembly; the setting up of a Presidential Truth and Restitution Task Force; and a closer look at the cost of governance to weed out all vestiges of corruption.

President Buhari pledged that the government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to strengthen existing ties with Algeria, saying God has endowed both Nigeria and Algeria with natural resources, particularly gas and petroleum, and the two countries have no option than to cooperate with each other.

Receiving the Algerian Ambassador, His Excellency, Belkacem Smaili, in a farewell audience at State House, Abuja, Thursday, the President said he looked forward to the establishment of gas pipelines, trans-Atlantic road, and fibre optic between the two countries.

On the political situation in Algeria, President Buhari prayed for successful elections billed for December, this year.

He said the outgoing Ambassador was already “an authority on Nigeria,” having spent over six years here, and witnessed two administrations.

Ambassador Smaili described Nigeria as “home,” and wished “prosperity and wellbeing for Nigerians,” as they go into the Next Level.

He said he also looked forward to a more robust relationship between Algeria and Nigeria.

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