President Buhari has confirmed that his desire is to make Nigeria a country with no tolerance for corruption, but one with a concerted fight against the threat.
President Buhari reported that when Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), led by Justice Ayo Salami (Rtd), received the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation, he was at the State House in Abuja today, November 20.
“In all nations, corruption is present. It is viewed with levity by some governments. Some fight all the time against it. I want Nigeria to be counted among those nations that do not accept corruption but fight it.”
In order to protect the democratic and economic structures of Nigeria and the continued life of the Nigerian state from the severe challenge of corruption, the President called on all parties, and indeed all Nigerians at their respective levels, to take ownership of the battle against corruption.
President Buhari, pledging that the battle against corruption would be waged without fear or favor, thanked the members of the Commission for their dedication and commitment to the fight against corruption.
”The sad reality confronting us as a people is that there is corruption almost everywhere; at many levels of government, and nearly every stratum of our society. Mindful of the threat that corruption poses to us as a nation, this administration has specifically focused on the fight against corruption.
”As a government, and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have since inception engaged in many reforms in removing corruption including but not limited to the enforcement of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number Policy and signing unto the Open Government Partnership. A lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions.
”We have so far kept faith with our promise and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts her security challenges.
”However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touches on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that strikes at the root, and undermines the Government’s anti-corruption programme.
”It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a Panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
”We recognize that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
”Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!” President Buhari said
In his observations, Justice Salami claimed that the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses had appeared and testified before the Commission, adding that 46 petitions and memoranda had been lodged against the suspended Acting Chairman, the EFCC or both, by individuals and organizations.
Justice Salami announced that the Commission has also embarked on a national physical verification of the forfeited properties recovered, including real estate, vehicles, vessels and non-cash assets.
He commended the President ” because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide ” for the effort to dispose of all forfeited assets.
Noting that the four chairmen of the EFCC have been from the police since its inception, the former Justice of the Court of Appeal has proposed that applicants from other law enforcement or security services and EFCC core personnel be given preference before selecting a new chairman, as provided for in the 2004 EFCC Establishment Act.
He expressed deep appreciation to the President for providing a great opportunity to the members of the Commission to represent the country.