on November 13, 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said that he is getting frustrated over the amount of funds stolen from the national treasury currently stashed in banks in the United States of America and Europe. The President stated this during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Paris, France. As part of his administration’s anti-corruption war, Buhari has been soliciting the support of the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other internal security agencies to assist Nigeria to locate, recover and repatriate stolen funds and assets. Speaking yesterday, the President said: “We are already getting results on road, rail, and power. My frustration is that some people still have plenty stolen money stashed in Europe, U.S and other countries.” President Buhari said the return of stolen assets in some safe havens will bolster the administration’s current effort of investing more in critical infrastructure that directly impacts on the livelihood of Nigerians.
He told the gathering that his government will also reinforce the war against terrorism with new weapons and hardware for the military, while the challenge of abduction and kidnapping in some parts of the country will receive more attention with better gathering of intelligence. “We campaigned on three key issues; security, improving the economy and fighting corruption, and we have not been controverted by anyone that we have not recorded some results,” he added.
On Nigerians in diaspora participating in elections, the President said the population of citizens in various countries across the world already necessitates their inclusion to elect leaders, noting that it might not happen in the 2019 elections as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had been more focused on strengthening and consolidating on its achievements of conducting credible elections within the country.
The President, who said it could happen in future, added that the Nigerian constitution had taken into cognizance the need for representation in the political structures in order to ensure harmony and development, urging more people to pick interest in governance and quality representation. He further assured that allocations to the education al sector will be improved as revenue increases, describing the sector as a major engine for the development of any country.
The President said about five per cent allocation to the sector was inadequate to propel the desired growth for the economy, pointing that United Nations’ target of 26 per cent remains ideal. “We are currently re-viewing investments in the entire infrastructure of the country like road, rail, and power, including investing more in education. We will certainly need to do more in education,” he said. The President enjoined Nigerian elite, both at home and diaspora, to do more in contributing to the educational sector of the country, expressing surprise that the elite tolerated the fall in standards and structures of educational institutions despite oil windfalls in the past that would have made all the difference. “I am doing my best now to utilize our resources to develop the country,” he said.
In her remarks, Nigerian Ambassador to France, Dr. Modupe Irele, said the Nigerian community in France had demonstrated a high sense of responsibility, dedication, and morality, adding that a large number of professionals had been encouraged to also contribute to the country’s development.
“Nigerians here are law-abiding, peaceful and resourceful,” she said. Dr. Irele said President Buhari’s commitment to change will make Nigeria the envy of other African countries. Nigerians in the diaspora, who participated in the meeting, raised questions on education, inclusive elections, security infrastructure, and the economy.
Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, recently nominated Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Diaspora Commission, facilitated the meeting that was attended by Governors Willie Obiano (Anambra), Aminu Masari (Katsina), and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), and top government functionaries.