President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a complete audit of all revenue generating agencies in the country as a clean up measure and to make them more efficient.
Top on the list of the agencies are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Nigerian Customs Service.
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported how former President Goodluck Jonathan had authorized the withdrawal of N67.2billion in cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria in the build up to the 2015 general elections.
The amount were said to have been carted away from the bank in bullion vans.
At his first Independence Day nationwide broadcast on Thursday, the President said the probe of the revenue generating agencies, including the CBN, became necessary following noticeable widespread corruption in the agencies.
“Preliminary steps have been taken to sanitize NNPC and improve its operations so that the inefficiency and corruption could be reduced to a minimum,” Mr. Buhari said.
“Those of our refineries which can be serviced and brought back into partial production would be enabled to resume operations so that the whole sordid business of exporting crude and importing finished products in dubious transactions could be stopped.
“In addition to NNPC, I have ordered for a complete audit of our other revenue generating agencies mainly CBN, FIRS, Customs, NCC, for better service delivery to the nation.
“Prudent housekeeping is needed now more than ever in view of the sharp decline in world market oil prices. It is a challenge we have to face squarely. But what counts is not so much what accrues but how we manage our resources that is important.
“We have seen in the last few years how huge resources were mismanaged, squandered and wasted. The new APC government is embarking on a clean up, introducing prudence and probity in public financing.”
He said at the inception his administration in May, a number of problems were inherited and that he was aware that Nigerians wanted quick solutions not the resolution of the problems.
Mr. Buhari said he had, after consultations, got down to work immediately on the medium term and long term problems which must be tackled if his government must continue to enjoy the confidence of the people.
He expressed delight that the nation’s armed forces had taken the battle to the domain of the Boko Haram insurgents and substantially weakened their logistical and infrastructural capabilities.
“Boko Haram are being scattered and are on the run. That they are resorting to shameless attacks on soft targets such as I.D.P. camps is indicative of their cowardice and desperation. I have instructed security and local authorities to tighten vigilance in vulnerable places,” he said.
The President noted that this success was made possible after marshaling an international coalition of armed forces of five neighbouring nations, G7 leaders as well as other friendly nations to confront and defeat Boko Haram.
On power, Mr. Buhari said government officials held a series of long sessions over several weeks about the best way to improve the nation’s power supply in the safest and most cost effective way.
According to him, improvement in the power supply is moderately encouraging and by the same token, supply of petrol and kerosene to the public has improved throughout the country.
“All the early signs are that within months the whole country would begin to feel a change for the better,” he said.
Mr. Buhari said his government was able to address the issue of salary arrears owed by state governments to their workers, saying the APC government stepped in to provide short-term support to the states.
On ministers, the President pointed out that there was a lot of anxiety and impatience over the apparent delay in announcement of ministers even when there was no cause to be anxious.
“Our government set out to do things methodically and properly. We received the handing over notes from the outgoing government only four days before taking over,” he said.
“Consequently, the Joda Transition Committee submitted its Report on the reorganization of Federal Government structure after studying the hand over notes.
“It would have been haphazard to announce ministers when the government had not finalized the number of ministries to optimally carry the burden of governance.
“Anyway, the wait is over. The first set of names for ministerial nominees for confirmation has been sent to the senate. Subsequent lists will be forwarded in due course.
“Impatience is not a virtue. Order is more vital than speed. Careful and deliberate decisions after consultations get far better results. And better results for our country is what the APC government for Change is all about.”
Mr. Buhari said for Nigeria, October 1st a day for joy and celebrations whatever the circumstances, recalling that 55 years ago the country was liberated from the shackles of colonialism and began her long march to nationhood and greatness.
“No temporary problems or passing challenges should stop us from honoring this day. Let us remind ourselves of the gifts God has given us. Our Creator has bequeathed to us Numbers – Nigeria is the ninth most populated country on the planet,” he enthused.
He said besides population, Nigeria was blessed with arable land, water, forests, oil and gas, coastline and solid minerals.
“We have all the attributes of a great nation. We are not there yet because the one commodity we have been unable to exploit to the fullest is unity of purpose. This would have enabled us to achieve not only more orderly political evolution and integration but also continuity and economic progress,” he said.
“Countries far less endowed have made greater economic progress by greater coherence and unity of purpose.”
Mr. Buhari noted that it was an achievement that the country had remained united and that should be appreciated, while consolidating the fledgling democracy.
“The fact that an opposition party replaced an entrenched government in a free and fair election is indicative of the deeper roots of our democratic system,” the President said.
“Whatever one’s views are, Nigerians must thank former President Jonathan for not digging-in in the face of defeat and thereby saving the country untold consequences.”
He reiterated that he bore no ill will against anyone on past events, stressing: “Nobody should fear anything from me. We are not after anyone. People should only fear the consequences of their actions. I hereby invite everyone, whatever his or her political view to join me in working for the nation.”
While wishing Nigerians a happy independence celebrations, President Buhari admonished Nigerians to appreciate the fact that it would take the combined efforts of all Nigerians to bring about change.
“We must change our lawless habits, our attitude to public office and public trust. We must change our unruly behavior in schools, hospitals, market places, motor parks, on the roads, in homes and offices. To bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens,” he said.