President Muhammadu Buhari in Tehran, Iran on Tuesday revealed that some treasury looters have had a change of heart and are returning the stolen money in their possession without being asked to. He made this revelation while at a communication session with members of the Nigerian community living in Iran while on his working visit in Iran.
The Nigerian president who had stated that his administration would do everything to make sure that all looted funds and not just a part will be returned, disclosed that even though the ongoing repentance by looters is greatly welcomed by his administration, government will still keep up with her relentless fight until everything is returned to the appropriate accounts. He however withheld the names of the former government officials who have so far returned fractions of looted assets as well the amount Nigeria’s treasury has received so far from the returns.
The Nigerian leader who is scheduled to return to Nigeria on November 24, Tuesday also made reference to the past military regime, saying that it is inappropriate to jail the looters while they are being probed contrary to what was right in 1985 when he was a military head of state. He noted that democracy stifles the chance of imprisoning the corrupt people unlike back in the day when he could imprison them with ease since under the rule of law, the suspects are seen as innocent people until proven guilty by the law.
According to the speech by President Buhari at the communicating session:
“On corruption; yes, they (the past government officials) are still innocent. But, we are collecting documents and some of them have started voluntarily returning something. But we want all.”
“When we get those documents, we will formally charge them to court and then we will tell Nigerians to know those who abused trust when they are entrusted with public funds. So, the day of reckoning is gradually approaching.”
President Buhari further reassured that his regime will deal effectively with those who are causing deliberate damage to pipelines and of course those stealing crude oil and also issued a statement concerning power generation. In his words:
“I believe if you are in touch back at home, you would have been told that already there is some improvement in power,”
“We haven’t said anything to them yet. I think they only find it sensible or appropriate for them to try and improve the power.
“I’m sure you know about the privatization of the power sector; your old friends NEPA or Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been sold to a number of interest groups.”
“Those who normally steal Nigerian crude and those who blow up installations, whether they call themselves militants or whatever, they are still there.”
Speaking of security and education reforms, the president promised that the insurgency in the north-east would soon go on the wane and that his administration would see that educational system from primary to tertiary levels are greatly reformed.