President Muhammadu Buhari says his first attempt to fight corruption led to his removal from office. In 1985, Ibrahim Babangida, a former head of state, plotted a coup which led to the removal of Buhari, then a military head of state.
Speaking while inaugurating the new Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters in Abuja, the president said his administration is not witch-hunting anyone but determined to bring corrupt people to book by the law.
“My last time to fight corruption, corruption fought back successfully, I was removed and detained for three years. I was in detention when my mother died. I was only released when she had died but that did not deter me. In spite of that, my objective of fighting corruption remains steadfast,” Buhari said.
“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.”
He said his government had recorded significant in the 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,” Buhari said.
“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.”