President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday urged Nigerian workers to dedicate themselves more to their duties than yield to the temptation of taking government property.
The president, who was speaking with presidential villa staff in Abuja said anyone planning to make such a move had better learnt from the experiences of those currently facing prosecution over various allegations.
“We haven’t touched anybody who did not touch public funds, you should behave yourself,” the president told the workers. “If you don’t have houses in Abuja and the whole of Europe, you will sleep soundly.
“You and your family will earn respect. But, if you short-change the treasury, you will be caught and I pity your family, because people will be abusing them. People will be calling you big thieves; that how did you raise money to build all the houses in Abuja and Europe with your meagre salary.
“I think personal integrity is something to be encouraged. I assure you that I am absolutely dedicated to serve Nigeria. Those who behave themselves will never regret. But, those who don’t behave themselves, is their problem.”
The president, who was meeting closely with Aso Rock staff for the first time, told them all fraudulent activities must stop, saying those in doubt about the efficacy of his administration’s anti-corruption war should ask those caught so far with public funds.
“This exercise (anti-corruption war) will continue as long as this leadership is here. Whoever takes anything that does not belong to him, or that he is not entitled to, it will be documented and the person will be taken to court. This is the only way I think we can bail ourselves out,” the president said.
Mr. Buhari said it was a disgrace that 27 out of the 36 states cannot pay salaries of their workers, despite all the income they have been getting over the years.
On the security challenge in the country, the president expressed regrets that the situation in other parts of the country, particularly in the Niger Delta region, was competing with the Northeast and capable of doing more damage to the country, the oil companies and the oil wells.
He decried the state of the power sector, which he said had made no remarkable improvement from 1999 till date, despite huge investments.
On diversification of the economy, President Buhari said although Nigeria decided to return to the farm as an alternative to oil, because of the prices, nothing much could be done this year.
“We have to quickly go back to the farm. It is too late for this year. But, next year, we will make a better arrangement to make sure next year, we can feed ourselves,” he said.