President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has recovered and is still recovering trillions of naira stolen by public servants whom he described as people “without conscience”.
Buhari was speaking on Tuesday during the inauguration of the new headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Jabi district of Abuja.
He described the completion of the structure as another milestone in the ongoing anti-corruption campaign, which he admitted has not been an easy task.
“This is another milestone in our determined and collective fight against corruption. Throughout my journey in national service and since 2015, I have made a very conscious decision to pursue a vigorous fight against corruption in public life,” Buhari said.
“Since 2015, we have made significant progress in the fight against corruption. Everyone now knows that corrupt officials will be held to account, no matter how long it takes.
“We have recovered and are still recovering trillions of naira that were stolen in the past few years by people without conscience. We are pursuing recoveries everywhere and are making sure that anyone who has been found culpable is made to answer for his or her crime under the law.”
Buhari also called on the other arms of government to do their parts in ensuring that incidents of corruption are drastically reduced in Nigeria.
“It is my hope and expectation that the judiciary, which is a critical stakeholder and partner in the war against corruption, would continue to collaborate with the Executive to bring corrupt people to book.”
He also urged the Legislature to show their support for the anti-corruption drive by coming up with necessary laws that will help the process.
The event was also attended by Thabo Mbeki, former South African President, among other dignitaries.
The eye-popping EFCC headquarters was constructed at the tune of N24 billion, which, according to Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the commission, is five times below the real property value.
While conducting journalists round the building last week, Magu said the EFCC did all the procurement by itself.
“Are you saying that N24 billion is too much for this edifice?” Magu queried a reporter. “Then you must be joking,” he added.
“Do you know what we have here, just because we procure most of the equipment? If you go and ask any other valuer, they will charge you more than N100 billion.
“Go and see the transformers and the clinic alone, other persons could have used more than N24 billion. We gave the whole money directly to the developers and they worked. We warned them that as long as we gave them all the money, they would work. There is no cheating in this at all.
“I am telling you that before you get a property like this, people would ask you for five times the price we used. If you like, you can go round the whole country, but you cannot get a property of this magnitude for N24 billion.”
The EFCC headquarters building was approved by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010, when Farida Waziri was the commission’s Chairman. However, actual construction kicked off in February 2011.
The contract was handled by Julius Berger construction company, but the building’s design was done by a Nigerian architect.