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Monday, August 17, 2015

Buhari Can Recover Stolen Funds – IBB

Former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd), has affirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has the capacity to recover Nigeria’s stolen funds.
Gen Babangida, who spoke in an interview with correspondents yesterday in Minna, Niger State, to mark his 74th birthday, also gave reasons why the war on insurgency was very difficult and narrated how former head of state, the late General Sani Abacha, saved him during the failed Gideon Orkar-led coup d’état.

On the efforts by President Buhari to recover stolen money, the former military ruler said: “My boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo created a similar strategy and, to be fair to him and his government, he made a lot of recoveries when he was in office; so we should support this present federal government in what is trying to do, to achieve the same objective”.
Asked further whether he thought the president’s strategy in this direction would yield the desired results, he stated that Buhari needs commitment to succeed.
“If he is resolute, I believe he will achieve some degree of stolen funds,” Babangida said. “You talk about oil theft, I am sure President Buhari is resolute to stamp out all those and to bring to book all those who have tampered especially in stealing our oil.”
He also gave reasons why the federal government could not negotiate with Boko Haram just as he cleared the air on his ancestral background.
On the new wave of attacks by Boko Haram since President Buhari assumed office, the former military leader said that the war against insurgents was exceptionally difficult because it was not a conventional war where military could test their full strength.
“I think there is a general misunderstanding of the whole concept of insurgency; you can call it anything – instability, guerilla war, terrorism. We are not fighting a regular army where you can confront them with sheer use of force and weapons to overwhelm the enemy; no, we have gotten a small trained army whose tactics is to inflict maximum casualty on its so-called enemy, inflict casualty on him when and where he least expects it.
“The army is not fighting a conventional war; that makes it exceptionally difficult. They (Boko Haram militants) blow our bridges; they go as far as blowing up barracks and so on; this is an unconventional war. I think the soldiers are trained for it and they know this is the sort of thing they do. I think the public should be educated about this unconventional war.”
Asked whether he subscribed to the idea of the government negotiating with the Boko Haram, he said: “Unfortunately the president got it right. He said he will talk to people who are credible, who have been identified as some of the leaders of the insurgency but, so far, apart from one or two names, we do not hear any other name. I don’t think the government will like to talk to a vacuum, to talk to people who are not worth talking to, as far as these issues are concerned. So the government is right in being careful to identify and talk if there is anything to talk about.”
Babangida praised the efforts of President Buhari’s government so far in fighting the group, and stated that, beyond weapons, it was the mind behind the weapons that wins war, adding that troops training should be emphasized also. He also commended effort of the United States in training Nigeria military over time.
Also speaking on the bloody Orkar coup of 1990, the former Nigeria leader stated that the late General Sani Abacha and some loyal officers actually saved his life.
“That I can remember very well. I had some loyal officers who were supposed to be my protectors and my body guards. Initially, they told me to leave but I told them no, that I was not leaving to anywhere but they remained stubborn, and later I took my family outside Dodan Barracks and joined my guards.
“So we went out of Dodan Barracks and we went to a safe house where we got in contact with loyal troops. May God bless (the late) Sani Abacha. Sani Abacha was the chief of army staff; I got in touch with him and we sat down and talked about what we were going to do. I and Abacha rallied round the loyal troops and then I left my state house and joined Abacha in his house, that was what happened.”
He also denied the rumour that he has ancestral link to Ogbomosho in the South West.
“I had to answer the question way back in November 1962 because of my name, Badamasi. I answered the question during my final year in secondary school when I had to answer that question. Now, 52 years later, I am glad I am answering the same question.
“The truth is that I hail from here, Niger State. My parents were from between Wushishi and this town (Minna). My grandparents travelled to settle down here, though I think that, that says it all. There is nothing wrong in being from any part of the country, but the truth is that I hail from Niger State. My grandparents and great grandparents moved from somewhere to settle down in Niger State.
“There are some who still call you the settlers in Niger State, that we are not indigenous to the state because our grandparents came from somewhere to settle here but I have lived all my 74 years in Niger State and I think I am more than qualified to be called a native of Niger State.”
Babangida further remarked that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failure in the last election was a hallmark of democracy, adding that the people were resolute to vote PDP out and they did it peacefully.
The former military president, however, advised the party to reassess itself and ascertain what went wrong in order to prepare well for future elections.
“I hope, they (PDP) learn from their mistakes; what they did wrong – what they did right and what they can do now to re-launch their party.”

APC Releases Details Of Looted Funds, Insists Looters Must Face Justice
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday released list of looted funds in the country, saying no good leader will ignore such massive looting of the nation’s treasury by public officials.
The party, in a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said nothing but the total recovery of the funds will be acceptable to all patriotic Nigerians.
APC said anyone who attempts, either by deeds or words, to sabotage the recovery efforts is not a patriot and deserves nothing but public denunciation.
‘’It is absolutely gratifying that Nigerians are vehemently opposed to the few who would rather have the government of the day turn a blind eye to the looted funds and, in their words, carry on with the process of governance.
‘’Truly, what sort of governance can go on if the billions of Naira in a few hands are not recovered? In the first instance, the government needs every kobo of the funds it can muster to bring about the change it has promised Nigerians.
“Secondly, leaving such hair-raising funds in the hands of the few looters is dangerous, because they can use the funds to destabilize any government. In fact, no one will be surprised if the looters use their dirty funds to sponsor public demonstrations against the government’s determination to recover the funds.
‘’Thirdly, allowing those who privatized the commonwealth to get away is offering a thumbs-up for looting. No responsible government will do that,’’ APC said.
The party remarked that, already, the looters had embarked on a relentless and an increasingly-bold campaign to discredit the government of the day and sabotage the funds’ recovery process, using newspaper columnists, and otherwise respectable opinion leaders.
‘’They and their paid hirelings have tried to employ sophistry to muddle the waters, but Nigerians are much wiser, and will not succumb to the dirty antics of the looters’ megaphones,’’ it said.
The party noted that it was necessary to remind Nigerians of the kind of massive looting of the treasury that took place in the past few years, so that they can better appreciate the seriousness of the issue at stake. It therefore listed some instances of the looting as follows:
– N3.8 trillion out of the N8.1 trillion earned from crude oil (2012-2015) withheld by NNPC
– $2.1 billion from Excess Crude Account unaccounted for
– Department of Petroleum Resources’ unremitted N109.7 billion royalty from oil firms
– $6 billion allegedly looted by some ministers of the last administration
– 160 billion barrels of crude worth $13.9 billion lost between 2009 and 2012
– $15 million from botched arms deal yet to be returned to Nigeria
– $13 billion NLNG dividends mostly unaccounted for
– N30 billion rice waiver
– N183 billion unaccounted for at the NDDC
The party said the listed ‘missing’ funds constituted just a fraction of the total sum since they are mostly from a few sectors of the economy, mostly the oil sector, and were discovered even before the forensic audit now being undertaken in some key areas.
‘’The level of looting that went on in other sectors is better imagined, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally around the Buhari administration to recover the loots, bring the looters to justice and put in place measures to prevent such looting in the future,’’ it said.
The governing party thanked Nigerians for their overwhelming support for the Buhari administration in its tough but important task of tracing and recovering the loot.

Stop Bandying About Imaginary Figures, PDP Tells APC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as reckless, irresponsible and highly provocative yesterday’s statement by the APC spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, wherein the ruling party gave out what PDP called ‘imaginary figures’ of looted funds by the previous administration.
PDP national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a press release yesterday, accused the APC of exhibiting its emptiness again and showing a desperation for public approval.
The PDP said: “In trying to escalate their stock-in-trade of lies, wild allegations and falsehood, the APC failed to understand that their baseless fabrications are capable of throwing an unsuspecting nation into chaos.
“The spate of fabrications by Lai Mohammed has become a sickening source of worry for well-meaning Nigerians, including those in his party.”
The PDP called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to call its spokesman to order before he plunges the country into crisis with wild and unsubstantiated claims.
The PDP said instead of engaging in unnecessary playing to the gallery, the APC-led government should get serious with the fight against corruption by investigating and prosecuting corrupt persons, while moving on with the demands of governance, especially in fulfilling their numerous campaign promises for which they were voted into office at the centre.

PMB Won’t Ask Journalists To ‘Kill’ Stories – Presidency
The presidency has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari will not try to manipulate the media by telling journalists to “kill” stories that would expose anything wrong his government had done.
Special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who stated this yesterday, noted that rather than do that, the current administration would encourage journalists to run stories that critically examine the workings of government and point the way forward.
According to a statement by the president of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Malachy Agbo, Adesina stated this on Thursday at a dinner held for him and his co-presidential spokesman, the senior special assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Malam Garba Shehu, by the online publishers.
Also hosted is the senior special assistant in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande.
He revealed that the first thing the president told him when he (Adesina) assumed office was, ‘Adesina, always tell me the truth.”
Adesina, who one of its Trustees of GOCOP, hinted that the president was firmly resolved to run an open and transparent government and would neither have anything to hide nor have any cause to want to ask for any story to be ‘killed’ – a term that means ‘do not publish,’ for stories that are likely to embarrass the authorities.
According to him, the only thing Buhari requires is that, for any news item, the Presidency should be allowed the opportunity to state its side before being put in the public domain.
The presidential spokesman commended the online publishers for coming together to form a group, even as he counseled them to watch out against spoilers, gate crashers and those who might hide under the canopy of online publishing to damage the reputation of innocent public officers.
He said, “There is a saying that one bad coin can spoil hundreds of other coins. My advice is that you should not allow any of your members to use the platform to malign innocent people. You should also find a way of sanitising the social media practitioners who just sit in their bedrooms to churn out news without professional touch.”
Also speaking, Shehu said he was grateful to members of the Guild for the support they gave him when he handled the media and publicity department of All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council as director.
The presidential spokesman noted that the APCPPC was the poorest in terms of resources “but the richest in terms of people’s goodwill”, adding that “the online publishers were the greater part of that process.”
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