Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Presidency has risen in defence of President
Muhammadu Buhari, saying he has achieved a lot
in the area of fighting corruption in the seven
months of his administration.
The Special Assistant to the President on Media
and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this in a
statement on Wednesday.
Shehu was reacting to a recent report by the
Centre for Democracy and Development which
claimed that Buhari had only achieved one out of
his 222 tracked electoral promises, representing
0.5 per cent of the promises.
The CDD had based its report on critical sectors
such as security, the economy, fighting corruption,
oil and gas, agriculture, and social and
environmental sectors.
But the presidential spokesman said it was
mischievous to attribute to the President promises
he did not make during the campaigns and hold
him accountable.
While advising leaders of the CDD to rise above
what he called petty partisanship and stop
misleading Nigerians, Shehu said any unbiased
person would recognise the achievement so far
made by Buhari in curbing corruption.
According to him, no sincere Nigerian will fail to
recognise the courage of the President to tackle
corruption in a country where impunity was once
celebrated.
The presidential spokesman added that within
seven months, Buhari had successfully blocked
the leakages in the system.
He said as a result of these efforts, the Nigeria
Customs Service had quadrupled its revenue base
within seven months, a feat the service could not
achieve in years.
“Doesn’t the President deserve credit for this and
other efforts to confront the monster of
corruption?” Shehu asked.
On the economy, he said it was wrong to blame the
President for the falling oil prices in the world
market, a challenge which he said had made
Buhari lay emphasis on economic diversification.
He recalled that President Barack Obama of the
United States had inherited an economy in crisis in
2009 and was not judged in his first seven months
in office.
Shehu explained that in the case of Buhari, it was a
double tragedy because he inherited an economy
in crisis on account of declining oil revenues and
an economy also ravaged by large-scale
corruption.
He, however, said progress was being made in
recovering the nation’s stolen funds.
He said an escrow account had been opened for
that purpose.
Shehu added, “He (Buhari) is making good strides
towards improving governance by tackling
corruption. Till date, a good number of persons
believed to have collectively stolen billions from
taxpayers have been arrested and are facing the
courts.
“We are working with our allies across the world
from Britain and America to France and Germany
to China and the UAE to source, locate and
repatriate misappropriated funds.
“So far, an escrow account has been opened for
money that is being returned. This is only the start.
The return of stolen funds is important, but it is just
as critical to ensure that those who seek to steal
realise that no longer will there be such impunity in
Nigeria.”
He said Buhari’s war against corruption and
terrorism had become a template for Africa and
the rest of the world.
The presidential spokesman said it was, however,
ironic that at home, some individuals were not
prepared to give these successes the recognition
they deserved.
Shehu said, “The latest CDD episode is a shocking
reminder to their failed attempt to hold the
President to ‘100 promises in 100 days’ which
disastrously crashed on the head of the proponent.
“The elevation of the act to a new high of 220
promises is a knee-jerk reaction that seeks to play
to the gallery and score points against the
President.”

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