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NDDC, EFCC probes: Appointees abused trust, says Buhari

…says Service chiefs could do much better

In what appears as his first official reaction to the ongoing probes, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday reacted on the allegations of corruption levelled against the leaderships of some Federal Government’s agencies and commissions. The President’s reaction was coming on the sidelines of the ongoing investigations into the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Recall that the Presidency had instituted a Presidential Probe Panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

The president, who spoke after observing his Eid prayers at the fore court of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that some appointees of the government in both his administration and the previous one have abused the trust entrusted upon them. He, however, expressed delight that some stolen assets are being recovered, sold and proceeds put into the Single Treasury Account (TSA), which is inaccessible to the corrupt persons involved, stressing that all of such cases would be uncovered and firmly dealt with by his government.

When asked how he felt about recent revelations coming out from the EFCC and the NDDC, President Buhari said: “There has been abuse of trust by people trusted by previous administration and this administration. A number of assets have been recovered and some money.

“But we have introduced TSA where all the monies are taken and I said asset should be sold and the money be put through TSA so that it can be identified at any level and I will see who will come after us and take it back again to those who misappropriated public funds.” While assuring Nigerians that all past and present cases would be fully investigated, he said: “This is why we put the commission (of investigation) in place.” He stressed that all of such cases would be uncovered and firmly dealt with by his government.

The Senate and House of Representatives are currently investigating how the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC allegedly squandered N40 billion within a few months. On the specific case of the Niger Delta, the President decried the wastage of the resources earmarked to better the lives of the people of the region, lamenting that corruption had been unhelpful in that regard, especially, “if you recall there is the 13 per cent derivation.” He also warned against pipeline vandalism in the oil producing areas, which often results in environmental pollution.

President Buhari said: “Those who are blowing pipelines and interfering with the production of petroleum products are hurting their people more than the rest of Nigerians because majority of their people are fishermen, fisherwomen and farmers.

“Now if they pollute the land and the waters, the fish goes into the deeper sea where the people cannot go and they cannot grow anything. They are hurting their immediate communities more than any other thing.” The Presidency had instituted a Presidential Probe Panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. On the performance of the nation’s service chiefs in curbing insecurity across the country, President Buhari said they ‘could do more’. According to a statement made available to journalists yesterday by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, the President said information coming from the North-East and North- West on the level of insecurity in those area was disturbing.

The President, however, assured Nigerians that his administration would make available more resources available for military, police and other security agencies to deal with the unwanted security situation in some areas of the country. While assessing the state of security in the country, the President described the situation, particularly in the North-West and the North- Central parts of the country as “very disturbing.” President Buhari said while much had been achieved, security wise, from the situation he inherited in 2015, more still needed to be done. He said considering the security situation on ground when he came to office, “Nigerians know that we have done our best. However, what is coming out of the North West and the North Central is very disturbing.”

Responding to a specific question on the performance of the Service Chiefs which recently, he said needed to get better, the President said that the Military, the Police and other security agencies are working hard. “We are making available resources to them to even do better,” he assured, adding that “from the reports I am getting, they could do much better…they could do much better. But we are keeping them on the alert all the time to do their duties.”

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