31 January 2016

Nigeria: Country's Judiciary Is My Main Headache in Corruption War - Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria could be effectively tackled with the strong support of the judiciary.

A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the President's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Mr. Buhari stated this while speaking at a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in Ethiopia.

The president said that far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remained a key priority for his administration.

"On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now.

"If you reflect on what I went through for twelve years when I wanted to be the president, I attempted three times.

"At the fourth attempt, through God and the use of technology, it was possible for Nigerians to elect an APC candidate as president.

"In my first attempt in 2003, I ended up at the Supreme Court and for 13 months I was in court.

"The second attempt in 2007, I was in court close to 20 months, and in 2011, my third attempt, I was also in court for nine months.

"All these cases went up to the Supreme Court until the fourth time in 2015, when God agreed that I will be President of Nigeria," he said.

Buhari assured members of the Nigerian community in Ethiopia that with the support of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, he would continue to do his best to improve the nation's judicial administration system.

On urban development and infrastructure, he announced that the Federal Government had ordered a review of several railway transport projects signed by the previous administration with the Chinese government.

"The Chinese government was very generous to Nigeria on the projects signed with the previous government because they agreed to pay 85 per cent of the project.

"But, the Nigerian government was unable to meet up with its counterpart funding of 15 per cent, so the Chinese government was unable to make any impact on the project," he said.

The president said he had directed the Ministers of Transportation, Finance, and Power, Works and Housing, to revisit the agreements and explore ways of re-approaching the Chinese government for assistance.

He added that the Chinese government had indicated interest to assist Nigeria on project financing through its Export-Import Bank.

On the proposed N6.07 trillion 2016 budget before the National Assembly, the president said that for the first time in Nigeria, the budget would be largely financed from non-oil revenue.

He identified the collapse of the international oil market and oil theft in the Niger Delta as main reasons for projecting more revenues to fund the budget from the non-oil sector.

He said that theft of oil by some Nigerians who felt that the oil belonged to them was irritating to "those of us who participated in the civil war for 30 months in which at least two million Nigerians were killed."

Buhari explained that the proposed budget would focus on increasing efficiency and transparency in government operations and the blocking of leakages from revenue generating agencies.

He added that the recovered asset of the country would also be used to reduce the budget deficit.

(NAN)

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