15 May 2018

Nigeria: My Goal Is to Ensure Protection of Public Trust, Not Witch-Hunt - Buhari

Photo: Presidency Nigeria/Twitter
President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday advised Nigerians not to see his administrations fight against corruption as a witch-hunt to anybody, noting that he will do everything possible to stop corrupt practices in Nigeria.

Speaking during the commissioning of EFCC headquarters in Abuja, Buhari said that his goal is to ensure the protection of public trust and urged Nigerians to assist in the fight against corruption.

Read his full statement below:

This is another milestone in our determined and collective fight against corruption. 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.

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.

Ladies and gentlemen, an American author and philanthropist, Anthony Robbins once said: "The only impossible journey is the one you never begin." He was saying, in other words, that if you are determined, no obstacle will be big enough to stand in your way.

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.

It is for this reason that 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.

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.

It is my pleasure to perform the opening ceremony of the "Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's Headquarters".

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