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How corrupt public officers regained loots after my arrest – Buhari


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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, narrated how corrupt public office holders in Nigeria regained what they corruptly acquired in office after his arrest by Ibrahim Babangida regime in 1985.

Buhari stated this while speaking in an exclusive interview on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

He said the journey on corruption under the present administration was difficult. He said despite efforts he made as military head of state (between 1983 and 1985) to make corrupt public office holders pay for their sins, the soldiers that overthrew his government thwarted his efforts.

“I like to repeat what I used to say. When I was a bit younger in the uniform when I came, I arrested the vice president, governors, ministers, commissioners.

“I put them under restriction or detention. I told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence…Eventually, I myself was arrested and they were given back their loots. So, this is Nigeria.”

He said in democracy, prosecution could be done with consideration for geo-political zones of alleged offenders, while people arrested for prosecution would maneuver the law and get back their loots.

Speaking on the imperative of special courts for corruption, he said cases could remain in court for five and 10 years, and people could forget them.

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The president gave the assurance that with special courts for corruption cases, the government would better fight corruption in the country.

He said people should not wait till persons standing trial for corruption died before justice would be given.

Buhari also said that as a democratically-elected president, he pledged to fight corruption, improve the economy and provide security during his campaigns.

The fight against corruption has been hampered by legal maneuverings which frustrate prosecutions and eventually make accused go with their loots.

But he said he was not deterred.

Buhari had also spoken exclusively with the Arise TV in an interview aired on Thursday morning.

The president restated his administration’s commitment to securing and uniting the nation.

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He described the aggrieved members of the proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as ‘a dot in a circle,’ a statement denoting the agitation for secession by the group would be impossible.

Buhari decried banditry in the North-West where he said people of the same culture were attacking one another.

The president issued stern warning to the bandits, vowing he would “treat them in the language they understand.”

He had issued same threat to IPOB days earlier, resulting in criticisms and counter-actions that culminated in the president suspension of Twitter, a microblogging platform, in the country.

Buhari gave the assurance that there would be difference in the dimension of insecurity in the nation in few weeks as, according to him, he had given directive to security agents to be ruthless on criminals.

He defended his appointments, saying positions should be earned on merit.

Besides, he blamed increasing insecurity in the country on unemployment and said his administration would continue to offer leadership that would be adjudged to be better than what he met after he had left office.

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