President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that he once lost a battle against corruption when he was Nigeria’s Military Head of State. Buhari had ruled over the country in a stint that ended in 1985 after being overthrown in a coup led by his Chief of Army Staff, Ibrahim Babangida.
“My first attempt to fight corruption, corruption fought back successfully. I was removed from office and detained for three years,” he said.
The president stated in spite of that harrowing experience, his “objective of fighting corruption remained steadfast.”
Buhari also revealed his drive since 2015 ” to pursue the fight against corruption.
Laying claims to the recovery of “trillions” of naira, he said his government has made huge recoveries from corrupt officials, the president gave himself a pass mark, saying he has made “significant progress” in the fight against corruption.
He also revealed that “corrupt officials would be brought to justice no matter how long it takes.
Reacting to allegations of preferential treatment in the government’s fight against corruption, Mr Buhari said his administration “never intended and does not engage in with-hunting” but “will call people to account within the law.”
He charged the National Assembly to “add more verve” to the government’s effort by “reviewing archaic provisions” that would address lapses in the legal frameworks.
While delivering his goodwill message, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, tasked the federal government in paying close attention to improving the welfare of EFCC staff in order to discourage them from corruption.
Dogara’s brief remarks were well applauded by staff of the commission, he said building a headquarters for the commission, “as important as it is” was not enough drive to the fight against corruption.
“We have the ardent responsibility to insulate officers of this agency from temptation,” he said.
He also spoke on the need to change the corruption outcry in Nigeria saying there are millions of Nigerians who do not bow “before the god of corruption.”
In her remarks, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, said the “determination of Nigeria is inspiring” other countries to step up the fight against corruption.
She hailed President Buhari’s example and his commitment to Nigeria’s efforts at recovery of stolen asset.
Ms Scotland also charged officials of the EFCC to remain steadfast and sustain the current momentum of the anti-corruption campaign.
“We hope that this building will not only take the angels but will send all the corrupt [persons] to where they rightly belong,” she said.