President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared a national emergency on the war against corruption, to enable the Federal Government to effectively deal with the ongoing high profile corruption-related cases in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the declaration while signing Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 on the preservation of assets connected with serious corruption and other relevant offences, at the Presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the declaration of emergency had become necessary owing to the need to re-kit and re-tool government’s arsenal to be able to effectively tackle corruption’s perilous counter-attack against the Nigerian state.
“It is in consequence of this that I have decided to issue the Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 to, inter alia, restrict dealings in suspicious assets subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities, which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes or for acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism, kidnapping, sponsorship of ethnic or religious violence, economic sabotage and cases of economic and financial crimes, including acts contributing to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and against the overall interest of justice and the welfare of the Nigerian State.’’
According to Buhari, there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption as the federal government is prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any means that facilitates corruption and supports its growth.
He noted that from available records, the aggregate value of funds involved in some on-going prosecution of high profile corruption related cases stood at N595,409,838,452.25k.
President Buhari observed that this amount was in excess of the N500 billion approved for Social Investment Programme in the 2018 Budget which he said scores of millions of Nigeria citizens would benefit from.
He added that the N500 billion would be applied to cater for home grown school feeding programme, government economic empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme and Conditional Cash Transfers.
“To further put things in perspective, the highest appropriation in the 2018 Budget in the sum of N344 billion went to the Ministry of Works for construction and rehabilitation of several roads nationwide. These roads are:
- Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan Dual Carriageway;
- Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa Bokani Road;
- Abuja-Abaji Road;
- Kano–Maiduguri Road;
- Enugu-P/Harcourt Dual Carriageway;
- Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road;
- Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontangora- Makera Road;
- Dualisation of Obajana to Benin;
- Calabar-Ugep-Katsina-Ala Road;
- Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriageway;
- Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Dual Carriageway;
- Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Sagamu Expressway Phase III;
- Kontagora-Bangi Road.
“All the foregoing roads are expected to be either constructed or repaired with equivalent of about 57 per cent of the monies covered by some of the on-going high profile corruption related cases.’’
President Buhari, however, noted with delight that the fight against corruption was gaining more momentum among the African States.
He said: “We just returned from the African Anti-Corruption Year event at Nouakchott, Mauritania where all African Heads of State were gathered to promote the anti-corruption message.
“Nigeria and 39 other African States have ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
“I pledge to elevate the African Union anti-corruption agenda at the next session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
“Therefore, in order to preserve Nigeria’s political and economic systems, and the continuous progress of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption, I call on all stakeholders, and indeed every Nigerian to give effect to this Executive Order.’’
The President therefore enjoined agencies of the federal government in consultation with the Attorney General of the Federation to identify and adopt best practices, and develop strategies for action.
He maintained that the fight against corruption was “one that must be fought by everyone wherever corruption rears its head.’’