Nigeria Government is set to begin the trial of persons alleged to have stolen from the national coffers, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday [Aug 11]. Buhari said the trial would begin “in a matter of weeks.”
The President spoke while addressing members of the National Peace Committee, led by a former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. “Those who have stolen the national wealth will be in court in a matter of weeks and Nigerians will know those who have short-changed them,” the President told his guests.
A statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the President as telling Abubakar and members of his committee that his administration was irrevocably committed to doing all within its powers to break the vicious cycle of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has to break this vicious cycle before we can make progress,” the President said. He added that his administration had been gathering facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds and that identified culprits would be prosecuted.
Buhari also told members of the committee that the Federal Government, under his leadership, would not only ask for the return of stolen funds but also ensure that those who stole the funds were put on trial. He said a single treasury account had been established for all federal revenues to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.
Buhari said, “We have really degenerated as a country. Our national institutions, including the military, which did wonderfully on foreign missions in the past, have been compromised. But we are doing something about it. The military is now retraining and morale has been resuscitated.
“As petroleum minister under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1970s, I could not travel abroad until I had taken a memo to the Federal Executive Council, asking for estacode. Now, everybody does what he wants. “That is why security-wise and economically, we’re in trouble.”
But the committee, which Buhari has transformed into the National Peace Council, also told the President to remember that Nigeria was no longer under military rule and that he should follow due process in the trial of suspected looters.