How Jonathan’s Ministers Looted Nigeria Dry- Buhari…Says I’ll Recover Looted Oil Funds And Prosecute Culprits
President Muhammadu Buhari today gave more details on how officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC made millions of dollars daily from illegal sales of crude oil. He vowed that his administration would trace the accounts of the individuals involved, freeze them, recover the loot and prosecute the culprits.
Speaking when he met members of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) in the United States and Canada at the Nigerian Embassy, in Washington DC, Buhari said the oil sector in Nigeria stinks owing to corruption.
He said “corruption in the country has developed into a culture where honest people are abused. Two hundred and fifty thousand barrels per day of Nigerian crude are being stolen and people sell and put the money into individual accounts.”
He expressed happiness that the United States and other developed countries “are helping us to trace such accounts now. We will ask that such accounts be frozen and prosecute the persons. The amount involved is mind-boggling. Some former ministers were selling about one million barrels per day. I assure you that we will trace and repatriate such money and use the documents to prosecute them. A lot of damage has been done to the integrity of Nigeria with individuals and institutions already compromised.”?
Citing the example of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), President Buhari said unlike what obtained during his tenure as Federal Commissioner for Petroleum under military regime, when the NNPC had only two traceable accounts before paying oil proceeds into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “now everybody is doing anyhow.”
The president, who expressed skepticism on the existence of oil subsidy, said if subsidy was removed, transport, housing and food prices would go out of control and the average worker would suffer untold hardship.
Reiterating that the “economy is in an extremely bad shape,” following 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged bad governance, he blamed the party for running down the oil refineries and having the “treasury in their pockets.”
The president assured, however, that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration would fulfil its three-pronged campaign manifesto of providing security, turning around the economy with a major focus on youth employment and fighting corruption.
He said agriculture and mining would receive priority attention as faster job-creation avenues for the teeming unemployed youths, adding that some foreign investors had agreed to take advantage of the immense business opportunities in the country.
Reiterating that his government may negotiate with the Boko Haram insurgents to pave way for the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, he said the Federal Government would only negotiate if genuine and confirmed leaders of the militant sect came forward and convinced the government of the current conditions of the girls, their location and the sect’s willingness to negotiate.
“Our objective is that we want the girls back, alive and returned to their families and rehabilitated. We are working with neighbouring countries if they will help,” he said. Asked when he would form his cabinet, the president, who observed, jokingly, that the question was chasing him around the world even to the point that at home he had been nicknamed, ‘Baba Go Slow,’ noted that not even the PDP, during all the years it ruled the country, formed a cabinet within the first four months.
“I am going to go slow and steady,” he assured, as he called for patience to allow the new administration “put some sense into governance and deal with corruption.” President Buhari promised that his administration would, at the right time, tap into the enormous talents available among members of NIDO, especially as consultants, while their requests for voting right in 2019, a Diaspora Commission and opening of new consulates in parts of the United States and Canada would be looked into.