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President Muhammadu Buhari says the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians. He has therefore sued for more cooperation between the three arms of government and the entire citizenry, to succeed in taming monster in all sectors and parts of the country.
He made the remark on Tuesday at the inauguration of the multi billion naira ultra-modern headquarters of the country’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, located in Jabi district of the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The Nigerian leader, who noted with joy that a lot of progress has been made in the fight against corruption since his assumption of office in 2015, pledged to sustain the tempo in his determined effort to rid the country of looters of the nation’s treasury.
“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,”he said.
President Buhari used the opportunity to further seek for collaboration from the Judiciary and legislature, in order to build on the gains already recorded in the determined fight against corruption.
“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,” he said.
The President said though corruption will always fight back, no obstacle can stand on his way as he remains focused on fighting corruption to a standstill and he protection of public trust.
“This is another milestone in our determined and collective fight against corruption. 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,” President Buhari stated.
The Nigerian leader urged citizens to lend the needed support to the country’s anti-graft agencies in order to succeed.
He said: “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.”
He also sought for the support of the international community as Nigeria’s works hard on the repatriation of stolen funds stashed abroad.
“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,” he said.
The new EFCC headquarters building which started in 2010 was fully financed by the Nigerian government. The world class edifice has sufficient office accommodation for over 700 staff of the Commission, a health centre, forensic laboratory as well as modern detention facility for male and female suspects.
Present at the inauguration ceremony were the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
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