Buhari to loot­ers: Re­turn stolen funds to have peace

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has urged those who stole public funds to ne­go­ti­ate and re­turn the loots peace­fully.

Buhari, who spoke at the Aso Rock Pres­i­den­tial Villa in Abuja yes­ter­day dur­ing an Eid el-Fitr homage by res­i­dents of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT), warned that if the loot­ers fail to com­ply, they would not know peace as the gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to pur­sue them.

“Please, tell those with plenty of money which does not be­long to them to try and ne­go­ti­ate and re­turn it in peace so that we will be in peace. Oth­er­wise, we will con­tinue to look for it,” he said.

The pres­i­dent also urged the Niger Delta mil­i­tants who are blow­ing up oil and gas

fa­cil­i­ties in the re­gion to em­brace peace and give the coun­try a chance.

Buhari asked the mil­i­tants to re­al­ize that the unity of the coun­try is not ne­go­tiable.

He said the slo­gan used in the 1960’s, ‘Go On With One Nige­ria (GOWON)’, re­mained very apt today as keep­ing Nige­ria one is a task that must be done.

He noted that while there had been a lot of im­prove­ment in the fight against the Boko Haram in­sur­gency, gov­ern­ment was cur­rently fo­cus­ing on the Niger Delta mil­i­tancy.

The pres­i­dent as­sured the Niger Delta peo­ple of jus­tice, say­ing they would get their dues in ac­cor­dance with the con­sti­tu­tion.

He said his ad­min­is­tra­tion had be­gun the process of iden­ti­fy­ing the num­ber of groups and their lead­ers with a view to ap­peal­ing to them to sheath their swords.

“On se­cu­rity, we have made a lot of im­prove­ment. Re­gard­ing the Boko Haram in­sur­gency, there is im­prove­ment. We are now con­cen­trat­ing on the mil­i­tants to know how many of them in terms of group­ings and lead­er­ship as well as plead with them to try and give Nige­ria a chance. In those days, we never thought of oil. All we were con­cerned about was one Nige­ria. So, please pass this mes­sage to the mil­i­tants, that one Nige­ria is not ne­go­tiable. And they had bet­ter ac­cepted. The Nige­rian con­sti­tu­tion is clear as to what they should get, and I as­sure them there will be jus­ticeý,” he said.

The pres­i­dent also re­gret­ted that in spite of the change in name and form of the Na­tional Elec­tric Power Author­ity (NEPA), the power sit­u­a­tion in Nige­ria re­mained un­re­li­able.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the ra­dio is now a ma­jor source of in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion in the coun­try as those who do not have elec­tric­ity at home can eas­ily walk into a bar­ber’s shop or drink­ing joint and lis­ten to the ra­dio.

“Those who watch tele­vi­sion are at the mercy of what used to be called NEPA. Which­ever form NEPA has taken now, it has main­tained the tra­di­tion of un­re­li­a­bil­ity. It is not ev­ery­day that the peo­ple get the news,” he said.

Buhari, who said he knew there were a lot of prob­lems in Nige­ria, as­sured, how­ever, that the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Audu Og­beh, was work­ing hard with the Gov­er­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, God­win Eme­fiele, to en­sure that about 13 states be­gin rice pro­duc­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent, the pro­gramme is giv­ing the gov­ern­ment con­fi­dence as many farm­ers are al­ready re­turn­ing to the field.

Ear­lier in his re­marks, Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo said the past one year had been tough for the coun­try due to the mess left by the im­me­di­ate past ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Os­in­bajo said the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion in­her­ited a huge fi­nan­cial mess and was still clear­ing the rot it met on ground.

He as­sured that the present ad­min­is­tra­tion would place the na­tion on a strong foot­ing, and prayed that as Buhari grows older, he would be stronger.

FCT Min­is­ter, Mo­hammed Musa Bello, on be­half of Abuja res­i­dents, pre­sented a giant sea­son’s greet­ing card to the pres­i­dent and the Aso Villa chapel, a mir­ror and an­other card.

Those in at­ten­dance in­cluded Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion Babachir Lawal, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Baba­gana Monguno, some mem­bers of the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, se­cu­rity chiefs, re­li­gious lead­ers and tra­di­tional rulers.

The Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Yakubu Dog­ara sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the event.

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