He said that the situation has made his administration’s ongoing anti-corruption war “tough and grueling.”
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, says the President told the United States Secretary Of State that corruption was fighting vigorously back, but assured Kerry that the anti-graft war would be won.
President Buhari said corrupt people had accumulated a formidable arsenal of illicit wealth, which they were now deploying against the government on diverse fronts.
President Muhammadu Buhari warmly congratulates erudite scholar and quintessential public servant, Professor Akin Mabogunje, who turns 85 on October 18, 2016.
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, says he joined family members, friends, professional colleagues and students of the octogenarian in celebrating the life of the National Merit Award recipient.
He states that Professor Mabogunje has consistently served humanity through extensive research, teaching and consulting across many national and global institutions.
“As he turns 85, the President believes the intellectual and moral strength of the renowned scholar prepared him at an early stage for the numerous leadership roles before him; paving the way for a rigorous and successful academic career and contributions to infrastructure development, urban and regional planning and public sector banking,” the statement read on Monday.
President Buhari commended the patriotism and commitment of the academic in serving with integrity on several boards of the Federal Government over many years.
He added that Professor Mabogunje shared his knowledge and skills to re-position cities and worked tirelessly to alleviate poverty through partnerships with the World Bank and the United Nations.
The President prayed that the almighty God grants the renowned town planner longer life, good health and strength to continue serving his country and humanity.
Nigeria’s Presidency has described the release of 21 out of the over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.
Mr Femi Adesina, who is a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, clears the air on the release which had triggered rumours that it was a swap deal between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group.
He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.
“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.
“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.
“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.
“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.
“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.
He stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.
The group said in a statement that the “wonderful development” confirmed what was known about the effort of the government to rescue the Chibok girls.
They added that while they await further details, they salute the work of Nigeria’s security services at the front lines and the tireless efforts of members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the Civilian JTF.
He said that the development was unfortunate due to the fact that the price of crude oil had dropped drastically.
President Buhari expressed disappointment that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 states in Nigeria were unable to pay worker’s salaries.
“We Did Not Save”
“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta and began to sabotage oil infrastructure.
“We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts.
“It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salary,” he said.
On what led to Nigeria’s economic recession, President Buhari said: “We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day.
“For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about $30 per barrel.
“I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.
“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?
“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.
“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.
“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.
“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar.
“But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent.
“But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands. Now, we have dealt with that insurgency and subverted their recruitment base.
“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts.
“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilise them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready,” the President told the gathering.
‘Working On Government Structure’
President Buhari further told them that his administration was working on a government structure that would effectively engage their skills and expertise.
He agreed that distinguished Nigerians in the diaspora had a role to play in Nigeria’s development, promising to provide a conducive environment for them to thrive.
“I assure you that we are trying to be systematic in the government to organise the government properly.
“When we do that, we will get the ministries to function and we will need quality people to come along and help it to move fast,” President Buhari told the gathering.
All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.
They assured the President of their support and willingness to come and offer their services to Nigeria like they do in the U.S.
For some of the professionals at the meeting there is no better time to return home than now.
“The determination to have structure in place, I think it will be encouraging for some of us in the diaspora to come back and participate because that is the structure we know here that we are used to,” one of those at the meeting said.
There are many Nigerian professional in the United States and around the world and leveraging on their expertise would be a boost for the nation in economic recession.
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why his administration is fighting the scourge of corruption headlong in Nigeria.
The President says this is because corruption contributes to the denial of the resources required for development.
He stated this on Thursday in New York at the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development.
Right To Development
President Buhari called on development partners to also step up the fight against corruption by returning ill-gotten financial assets and halting future illicit financial flows to their countries.
He noted that such collective action “will guarantee a stronger international defence of the right to development”.
The Nigerian leader added that illicit financial assets stashed abroad deprive developing countries including Nigeria, and invariably deny people the enjoyment of their national wealth and resources needed for development.
He cautioned that non-repatriation of illicit financial assets could impinge on the determination of States to achieve an all-inclusive 2030 sustainable development.
The President further called on the United Nations “to remain vocal and active in addressing the negative impact of non-repatriation of illicit financial assets on their countries of origin”, adding that “as soon as stolen assets are legally established, they should swiftly be repatriated”.
He welcomed the commemoration of three decades of the Declaration on the Right to Development, which he observed, coincided with the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“It reminds us all of the essence of development and provides us with the opportunity to reaffirm commitments to converting this right into the policies and operational activities of relevant actors at the national, regional and international levels,” he said.
Lop-Sided Terms Of Trade
President Buhari noted further that as a developing country, Nigeria considers the Right to Development an inalienable right of fundamental importance, stressing that at the national level, his administration has been making strenuous efforts to ensure that the right to development is at the centre of all development initiatives.
He reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the UN Charter and other international conventions that uphold the Right to Development.
The President also drew the attention of the international community to the urgent need to address the lop-sided terms of trade between developed and developing countries, which have impacted negatively on the capacity of many developing countries to embark on development programmes for the benefit of their peoples.
“Nigeria is convinced that the Right to Development is a shared responsibility considering the growing inequality and poverty resulting from climate change impact, natural disasters, violent extremism, social unrest and deprivation.
“The Right to Development must be promoted and protected like all other rights. Its universality and interdependence are indisputable,” said the President in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday warmly felicitated with the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, on his 60th birthday.
In a statement, the President joined the people and government of Sokoto State in northwest Nigeria, the Muslim community and family members of the Sultan in celebrating the unique anniversary.
As the head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), President Buhari affirmed that the Sultan had demonstrated uncommon leadership style, patriotism and wisdom in his consistent advocacy for security, peace and unity of Nigeria.
He believes that the wise counsels and support of the royal father on issues of good governance, girl-child education, infant and child mortality, as well as agriculture have greatly enriched his administration’s efforts to improve the livelihood of Nigerians.
The President prayed that “the almighty Allah would grant the Sultan good health and long life to continue in the service of humanity”.
The congratulatory message was contained in a statement by President Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is doing its best to manage the nation’s resources in a prudent manner.
He said that the government was committed to transparency and accountability, which is serving the government in good stead, despite severe shortage of resources.
The President spoke on Thursday at the State House in Abuja while receiving the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin.
“It has been a very difficult year for Nigeria.
“Before we came to office, petroleum sold for about $100 per barrel. Then it crashed to $37, and now oscillates between $40 and $45 per barrel. Suddenly, we’re a poor country, but commitment to transparency and accountability is not making people know that there is severe shortage,” the President said.
Saving Lives In Nigeria
Asking UNFPA to bear with Nigeria in whichever area the country could not live up to its responsibilities for now, President Buhari said exploding population and different cultural practices in the country provide fertile ground for research to organizations like UNFPA.
The President thanked the UN agency for its commitment to saving lives in Nigeria, particularly of women and children.
On food security, President Buhari said reports from the northeast of the country were encouraging, as people were returning to their farmlands, with the guarantee of relative security.
A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said Professor Osotimehin, who was a former Minister of Health in Nigeria, told President Buhari that the UNFPA was determined to promote health care facilities across Nigeria.
He said that reduction of maternal mortality was doable, if the country paid more attention to access to health facilities, and human resources to run them.
He also encouraged Nigeria to commit to providing resources for health care, on a rollover basis, pledging that the UN would work with the country to provide humanitarian assistance not only in the North-East, “but even extended to the Lake Chad basin.”
A strategic security consultant, Max Gbanite, has challenged the Nigerian government to ensure it engages in dialogue with Niger Delta militants from a position of strength.
Mr Gbanite made the call on Monday while giving his opinion about the reports that the Federal Government had struck a deal with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), to end the crisis in the Niger Delta region.
“Whether you are going to negotiate, talk or discuss, any reasonable government must do that from a position of strength,” he said on Sunrise Daily.
Element Of Believability
While the security expert supported government’s dialogue with militants, he expressed concern at the position of the government in the matter.
“It is good to negotiate with MEND, it is good to negotiate with the Avengers, it is good to negotiate with the IPOB (and) it is good to even rehabilitate some Boko Haram people (after all they are all Nigerians), but the issue is what is government’s position?” Gbanite questioned.
While emphasizing the need for Nigerians to be aware of the progress, he insisted, “Until government comes out to say we have indeed negotiated and these are the outcomes of the negotiation, then there is believability”.
He challenged the spokesmen for the President, Mr Femi Adesina and Mr Shehu Garba, to “come out and say we are indeed (negotiating)”, insisting that “there must be an element of believability”.
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will not hide anything from Nigerians in its resolute commitment to restoring the economic fortunes of the country and delivering prosperity to her citizens.
The President said this while receiving the Northern Christian Leaders Eagles Eyes Forum at the State House in Abuja on Friday.
According to his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, the President appealed to the religious leaders not to lose hope in the unity, stability and progress of the country.
President Buhari noted that the Federal Government would continue to prioritise the safety of lives and property.
Truth About Nigeria
He added that the government would also equip Nigerian farmers with the right tools, technology and techniques to boost agriculture.
“You must tell your followers the truth about the country. We have nothing to hide because we have no other country but Nigeria.
“Tell them to give us a chance to stabilise the country. Your concern for the security, unemployment, anti-corruption campaign and the frequent altercations between herdsmen and farmers are genuine concerns.
“I know the Ministry of Agriculture and the Governors Forum are doing a lot to resolve the lingering crisis between herdsmen and farmers, we must give them a chance,” he said.
The President also thanked the Christian leaders for their support to the Federal Government’s anti-corruption campaign and other policies geared towards reviving the economy.
“It is saddening that some of those who stole from our national resources put the money in their personal accounts.
“However, it is gratifying that those who stole money and shared funds meant for the purchase of arms for our military are regretting their actions and they will regret more.
“Those caught in corruption will have themselves to blame,” he said.
In his remarks, leader of the Forum, Pastor Aminchi Habu, called on Nigerians to support the President’s anti-corruption war and his vision to restore the lost glory of Nigeria.
“In your administration, I see a new Nigeria where the fear of bribery, corruption and extortion is the beginning of wisdom.
“I see a new Nigeria, where tribalism, religion and ethnicity is no longer a barrier that separates us but a bond that unites us for a greater tomorrow,” he said.
He returned to Nigeria after a 10-day official vacation where he also had his ear evaluated by Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists.
“I am ok. I am better. You can see me inspecting the guards of honour. Now you can do the assessment yourself,” Mr Buhari told reporters at the airport.
He also said in Hausa language that he was so healthy that he could even engage anyone in a wrestling bout.
A spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, had in a statement said President Buhari’s Personal Physician and an E.N.T. Specialist had recommended further evaluation of the ear after they had examined him.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of his Special Adviser on Planning, Mr Ben Akabueze, as the new Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation.
The appointment was made public on Thursday in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“Mr Akabueze takes over from Mr Tijani Mohammed Abdullahi who will now serve as Special Adviser to the President on Planning and will continue to work with the Minister of Budget and National Planning,” the statement read.
Both Mr Akabueze and Mr Abdullahi joined the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in February this year.
“Their redeployment is part of an ongoing exercise aimed at further re-positioning the Ministry to effectively deliver on its core mandate,” the statement read.
Nigeria is hosting the second regional security meeting in Abuja to consolidate efforts for regional peace and development. The summit has commenced.
The Multi-National Joint Task Force Commander has drawn the attention of member states to the need for improved allowances for the troops and purchase of equipment for detecting and destroying IEDs.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is asking member states to begin to fix attention on developmental programmes which will address the root causes of insecurity in the region.
Saturday is for the presentation of the recommendations from the series of meetings they will be holding to the leaders of member states.
Discussions at the Summit will focus on intelligence on the location and rescue of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls and an implementable action plan for the joint fight against insurgency in the African region.
Presidents of four member countries of the Lake Chad Basin will be attending the Summit as well as representatives of other neighbouring African countries, the European Union, the United States and the British government.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Lolo Bulus, said that the Summit is sequel to the Security Summit in Paris.