Thursday, 31 December 2015

None Of My Ministers Is Corrupt – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari,
yesterday, made a robust defence of
the integrity of all 36 ministers in his
cabinet challenging anyone with a
contrary view to present evidence
against such a minister.
Speaking in his first media chat, the
president said the first gains of the
war against corruption would
become evident by the end of March,
next year, even as he accused
erstwhile National Security Adviser,
Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) of having
allegedly committed atrocities
against Nigeria through reckless
disbursement of billions of
government funds.
The president made his first
dismissal of the agitation for Biafra
stating that Igbo were in strategic
position in the cabinet including
holding the petroleum and labour
portfolios besides the stewardship of
the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
President Buhari also assured of the
administration’s readiness to
implement the N5,000 monthly
transfer to vulnerable Nigerians
even as he said the campaign
promise did not emanate from him
but from his then running mate,
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. He
also frowned at the allocation of
N47.7 billion for the purchase of
vehicles by the National Assembly
even after the lawmakers had
collected car loans from the
The president, who expressed his
readiness to negotiate with any
credible leadership of the Boko
Haram sect for the release of the
kidnapped Chibok girls also disclosed
his readiness to consider a ban on
the use of hijab should the trend of
bombing through young veiled girls
Noting the dire economic conditions
facing the country, President Buhari
was, nevertheless, against the
immediate devaluation of the naira
even as he revealed that N1.5 trillion
had been recovered into the
federation account through the
implementation of the Treasury
Single Account.
The president also spoke on the fate
of the Islamic cleric, Sheikh
Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, saying that he
had allowed the Kaduna State
government and the military
authorities to take the lead in the
investigations. He affirmed that the
cleric had over time overstepped his
bounds to the distress of the
communities he lived.
On the panel that interviewed the
president yesterday were Kayode
Akintemi, Channels TV; Dr. Ngozi
Anyaegbulam, Media World
International; Munir Dan Ali, Daily
Trust and Ibanga Isine, Premium
On the ministers
“I don’t think I tolerate corruption, I
don’t think I picked anybody that I
know will embarrass my
government. But if you have any
evidence about any of my ministers,
I accept responsibility for the 36
ministers that I have.
“I don’t think I took anybody among
the ministers who has got a case in
court. Tell me one out of the 36. I
don’t think I will deliberately make
that mistake.”
Asked if he would sack any of the
ministers if he or she is charged to
court for corruption, he said:
“No, I will insist that the case go
through the courts.”
On the location and condition of the
Chibok girls, he said he would be
prepared to negotiate with credible
elements in the Boko Haram
leadership if there is precise
intelligence that could help return
the girls to their parents. He,
however, affirmed that presently he
did not superior intelligence on the
fate of the girls.
“We are still keeping our options
open. If a credible leadership of
Boko Haram can be established and
they tell us where those girls are, we
are prepared to negotiate with them
without any pre-condition. This we
have made absolutely clear. But
while they are keeping the Chibok
girls, they must not get away with
the idea that we will not attempt to
secure the rest of Nigeria.
“We have no firm intelligence on
where they are physically and what
condition they are in. But what we
believe from our intelligence, they
keep taking the girls around, they
are not keeping all the girls in one
place, we don’t know how many
divisions they made of them and
where they are.
On the crisis in Kaduna involving
followers of the Shite leader, Sheikh El-
Zakzaky, he said:
“I expect the Kaduna State
Government to set up a judicial
inquiry because it happened in
Kaduna, in one of the cities and it
has been there for the last twenty
years from what I have been reading
from papers. They will occupy a
federal highway, sometimes from
Kano to Kaduna. This is what I
“We have a system of investigation,
the military that was involved too
have a tradition of investigation and
I am the head of the federal
government, I have to wait for the
official report before I can come out
as head of the federal government
and make a statement. So I am
allowing the Army and the Kaduna
State government to submit their
report of inquiry. Meanwhile it does
not mean that the police, the SSS and
other directorate involved are not
doing their own part of
constitutional role.
Frowning at the activities of the
group, he said:
“Unfortunately it is very serious.
How can any group proclaim
statehood in a state? I don’t want to
speak about it in details now, I better
leave it still after the report of the
inquiry but there are a number of
clips I saw, where some excited
teenagers were visually hitting the
chest of a general, mounting road
blocks and threatening them with
On the contentious issue of subsidy,
the president said that by the end of
the next quarter that there would be
no more talk about subsidy in the
price of petroleum.
N5,000 monthly stipend for the less
“When my VP was quoted, how can I
come here and disown it? First, I
believe in getting facts, how many
are involved? How are we going to
do it? Is it state by state or geo-
political zone by geo-political zone?
In trying to get the bottom of the
problem, a lot of work has to be
done and if it is undertaken, we
have to look at it very well.”
On Dasuki, Kanu and others
Asked on the alleged flouting of court
orders by the state on the issue of
Dasuki and detained Biafran
agitator, Nnamdi Kanu, he said:
“Technically, if you see the kind of
atrocities those people committed, if
they jump bail? I am sorry to say this
publicly…the former president just
wrote to the governor of the CBN
and said give N40 billion to someone
while you have two million
Internally Displaced Persons, what
kind of country do you want to run?
“The one you called Kanu, do you
know he has two passports? One
Nigerian, one British and he came to
this country without using any
passport? Do you know that he
brought sophisticated equipment into
this country and started
broadcasting for Radio Biafra? There
is a treasonable charge against him
and I hope the court will listen to the
Biafra and marginalisation of Ndigbo
“They say they are marginalised but
they have not defined the extent of
marginalisation. Who is
marginalising them? Where? Do you
know? Choosing a minister is not a
matter of ethnicity, it is a matter of
the constitution. I am limited by
what the constitution says that there
must be a member of the executive
council from each state. There is a
lot of partisan politics in it. Who is
the Minister of State for Petroleum?
Is he not an Igbo? Who is the
governor of the CBN? Is he not an
Igbo? Who is the Minister of Labour?
Who is the Minister of Science and
Technology? What do they want? I
stood elections and I won, I am
limited by the constitution, I have a
member of every state in the Federal
Executive Council and I have to
listen to them when I sit as
chairman. That is the limit the
constitution gave me”.
Asked if he would consider banning
the use of hijab in the face of the
continued use of veiled girls in
suicide missions in the Northeast,
the president said:
“Placing ban on hijab is not enough.
However, if this continues it will be
banned. Because it is for the safety
of the people generally.”

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