President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the commitment of his administration to fight corruption to a standstill, saying “no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State”.
The president said this on Friday in Abuja when he received the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Investigation of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Commission of Inquiry is headed by Justice Ayo Salami, a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal.
According to Buhari, the desire of his administration is to make Nigeria a country that has no tolerance for corruption; one where the menace is vigorously battled.
The president noted that a lot of effort had gone into building and developing anti-corruption institutions in the country.
“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.
“Corruption is present in all countries; some governments treat it with levity, some fight it all the time.
“I want Nigeria to be counted among those countries that do not tolerate but fight corruption.
“As a government and in furtherance of our anti-corruption programme, we have, since inception, engaged in many reforms to remove corruption.
“These include 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.”
The President called on all stakeholders and, indeed, every Nigerian to own the fight against corruption at their respective levels.
This is in order to protect Nigeria’s political and economic systems and the continuous existence of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption.
According to him, the Federal Government has, so far, kept faith with its promise and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts her security challenges.
While pledging that the fight against corruption was one that must be fought without fear or favour, Buhari thanked members of the Commission for their dedication and commitment to the fight against corruption.
“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 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 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 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 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!,” Buhari said.
In his remarks, Salami said that the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the Commission.
He also said that 46 petitions and memoranda were presented by individuals and organisations with complaints against the suspended Acting Chairman, the EFCC or both.
“The Commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estates, automobiles, vessels and non-cash assets.
“I commended the president for the initiative to dispose all forfeited assets because of the poor condition of the assets we saw during our physical verification nationwide,” Salami said.
While noting that the four chairmen of EFCC since inception were from the police, Salami recommended that consideration be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and core staff of the EFCC, in appointing a new chairman, as provided in the EFCC establishment Act. (2004).
He expressed gratitude to the president for giving the Commission members a wonderful opportunity to serve the nation.