President Muhammadu Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 among others, to restrict dealings in suspicious assets subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption.

Performing the ceremony at the presidential villa, Abuja, he explained that this is necessary 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.”

The president said the signing of the order is an important milestone in the fight against corruption which he described as a project that is very crucial to the viability and continuous well-being of this country.

He added: “Whilst there are many reasons why Nigeria has been struggling; regrettably, the most unfortunate cause of great disparity between Nigeria’s wealth and its poverty is endemic corruption.

“There is also a very strong link between corruption, peace and security. Unfortunately, corruption is everywhere; at all levels of government, and every stratum of our society. Without doubt, corruption constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria.”

Recalling his campaign promises of tackling insecurity, economy and corruption, the president noted that in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption programme, it had since inception engaged in multi-sectoral reforms on anti-corruption including the enforcement of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number Policy, Signing of the Open Government Partnership, and a lot of efforts have gone into building and development of our anti-corruption institutions among others.

He further said: “We have so far kept faith with our promise and shall remain committed thereto until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts all her security challenges.

“Like I have many times said, if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will sooner-or later kill Nigeria. Therefore, after three years in office, it is an opportune time to further review our achievements against set goals, and where necessary; re-appraise our strategy in order to achieve our outstanding objectives.

“As this real battle continues, we still need to strengthen our policies and institutions in order to successfully fight corruption. We recognise 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 means that facilitates corruption and supports its growth.

“From available records, the aggregate value of funds involved in some on-going prosecution of high profile corruption-related cases stands at N595,409,838,452.25k.

“This amount is in excess of the N500 billion approved for Social Investment Programme in the 2018 Budget, which sum would be applied to cater for home-grown school feeding programme, government economic empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, Conditional Cash Transfers, etc. Cumulatively, scores of millions of Nigerian citizens would benefit from those programmes.”

President Buhari stated that given the enormity of development problems, it was “it has thus become necessary to re-kit and re-tool our arsenal to be able to effectively tackle corruption’s perilous counter-attack against the Nigerian State.

“Accordingly, the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared a national emergency to deal with that crisis. In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria in line with its anti-corruption strategy seeks to ensure that the ends of justice are not defeated or compromised by persons involved in a case or complaint of corruption.

The president called on stakeholders and every Nigerian to give effect to the Executive Order “in order to preserve Nigeria’s political and economic systems, and the continuous progress of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption.”

He directed 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, noting “the fight against corruption is one that must be fought by everyone wherever corruption rears its head.”

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