What Buhari has done to tackle corruption, insecurity in three years – Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari resumes office 5
President Muhammadu Buhari in his office

The Muhammadu Buhari administration has released details of its achievement in the fight against corruption and insecurity in the three years it has been in power.

The president had consistently stated that his administration will face three major issues as part of the change mantra of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). These are the economy, insecurity, and corruption.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier published what the presidency said it achieved in the economy in the past three years.

The list of achievements are contained in a document made available to PREMIUM TIMES by the Nigerian presidency on Friday.

TACKLING CORRUPTION

The government said the new Whistleblowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance in December 2016 has since then yielded several recoveries. These include N13.8 billion from tax evaders and N7.8 billion, $378 million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistleblowers.

It also said the National Economic Council (NEC), under the Chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, approved the audit of key federal revenue generating agencies, which has so far yielded a total sum of N526 billion and $21 billion. The money was underpaid to the Federation Account between 2010 and 2015.

The document said NEC has now approved the extension of that audit to cover the period until June 2017.

Also, the Buhari Administration said it is addressing the issue of poor levels of remittance of operating surpluses by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

It said from remitting only N51 million between 2010 and 2016, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), went on to remit N7.8 billion in 2017, and is on course to remit a similar amount in 2018.

The Buhari government also said it has submitted an Executive Bill for the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Nigeria and other foreign countries, to facilitate the “identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime, in February 2016”. It said the Senate passed the Bill into Law in May 2017.

The government equally said Nigeria has signed agreements and MOUs with various countries to boost international cooperation for the “investigation, tracking, freezing and return of stolen assets”.

The document reveals that the government has also set up the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), which is aimed at strengthening controls over government finances through a continuous internal audit process across all MDAs, particularly in respect of payroll.

“Through the activities of PICA, 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries have been identified, with payroll savings of N200 billion,” the government said.

The APC administration said Mr Buhari on August 7, 2015, issued a directive to all MDAs to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before September 15, 2015 as part of the expansion coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the administration.

“The TSA system was launched in 2012, but failed to gain traction until President Buhari’s executive order in August 2015.

“As at March 2018, 1,674 MDAs had enrolled into the TSA, up from 766 in December 2016,”it said.

It also said that as at March 2018, the TSA had recorded inflows of N8.9 trillion from MDAs.

“The TSA allows the managers of the Government’s finances, including but not limited to the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, to have, at any point in time, a comprehensive overview of cash flows across the entire Government.

“This decision to fully operationalise the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system—a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account, or series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria — has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across DMBs in the country, and in savings of an average of N4 billion monthly in banking charges associated with indiscriminate Government borrowing from the commercial banks,” the government said.

The government also said the TSA has ensured increased transparency in public financial management, as well as preventing a scenario in which some MDAs have idle cash while other MDAs are compelled to borrow exorbitantly from commercial banks.

The federal government said it has also given priority to the deployment of Bank Verification Number (BVN) for payroll and pension audits.

It said the use of BVN to verify payroll entries on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform has so far led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries.

It said it has also ensured the deployment of BVN system to serve as the verification basis for payments to beneficiaries and vendors in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the N-Power Scheme and the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP)

Open Government Partnership (OGP)

The Buhari administration said it attended and participated in the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the UK Government in May 2016.

It said at that Summit, Mr Buhari pledged that Nigeria would join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international transparency, accountability and citizen engagement initiative.

“In July 2016, Nigeria became the 70th country to join the OGP. Following this, Nigeria constituted an OGP National Steering Committee (NSC), which went on to develop a National Action Plan (2017–2019) that aims to deepen and mainstream transparency mechanisms and citizens’ engagement in the management of public resources across all sectors,” the government said.

It also said Nigeria was elected to lead the OGP in 2018 alongside Argentina, France, and Romania.

All four new members of the OGP Steering Committee will serve for three years starting on October 1, 2018.

The government also claims that the creation of an Efficiency Unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance to review all government overhead expenditure, has reduced wastage and has also provided efficiency and ensures quantifiable savings for the country.

According to the document, the Efficiency Unit’s efforts have resulted in savings on travel, sitting allowances and souvenirs to the tune of N17 billion.

Oil and Gas Reforms

The document said since August 2015, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been publishing its performance monthly report in newspapers and various new media platforms and most importantly on the NNPC website to improve transparency and probity.

It said the controversial Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) has been cancelled and replaced with a ‘Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)’ scheme with reputable offshore refineries.

It said the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which was drafted by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, has now been passed into law by the National Assembly, after 17 years of failed efforts.

It also added that in 2016 the federal government exited the cash call arrangement by which the NNPC traditionally funded its share of the crude oil exploration and production Joint Ventures (JVs) with International Oil Companies (IOCs).

“The cash call obligations had consistently put pressure on the federal government’s finances, and a failure to fully fund them has resulted in the accumulation of debt arrears of 6.8billion dollars, as at December 2015.

“The $6.8 billion in arrears have been negotiated down to $5.1 billion by the federal government, translating into immediate savings of 1.7 billion. A long-term repayment plan has been drawn up for the balance of $5.1 billion,” the government said.

The government also touts the creation of a new Prison Data Management System as well as the creation of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Response Teams to some states as some of its major achievement in the area of transparency and good governance.

Other achievements, according to the document is the reform in the Judiciary arm of government such as the establishment of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to, among other things; promote the reform agenda of the government on the anti-corruption effort, and advise the administration in the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

PACAC, the document said, was the first committee Mr Buhari set up after he was sworn into office on May 29, 2015.

The document said so far, PACAC has empowered judges and prosecutors to operate effectively in carrying out their responsibilities through Workshops on the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

It said the committee has also trained both federal and state prosecutors on proper drafting of charges and has also helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, mainly from State Coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits.

“Part of this work has involved painstakingly reviewing existing Laws (like the Money Laundering Act, 2004, the EFCC Act, 2004 and the ICPC Act, 2000), to identify and highlight sections directly conferring powers of forfeiture on Nigeria’s anticorruption agencies.

“This advocacy has led to a significant increase in the use of Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture Mechanisms by anti-corruption agencies,” the document said.

The document said PACAC has also drafted a Bill for the establishment of Special Crimes Court and was also responsible for the creation of the whistle blower policy of the federal government.

SECURITY
North-east

Under security, especially in the restive North-east region, the Buhari administration highlighted the establishment of a Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), aimed at combating trans-border crime and the Boko Haram insurgency as well as the resumption of public secondary schools in Borno State on September 26, 2016, after two years of closure as some of it major achievements.

Others are the resumption of Arik Air flights to Maiduguri in May 2017, three years after suspending operations to the city and the re-opening of Maiduguri-Gubio and Maiduguri-Monguno Roads in December 2016, after being closed for three years.

The document also revealed that the Emirs of Askira and Uba, both in Borno State, returned home in May 2016, two years after fleeing their palaces on account of the Boko Haram insurgency, while El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club returned to their home base in Maiduguri in April 2016, two years after relocating to Katsina State because of the insurgency

It also said the Nigerian military reopened Maiduguri-Bama-Banki Road in March 2018, four years after it was seized by Boko Haram, while more than a million displaced persons have returned to their homes and communities across the Northeast, since 2015.

Other achievements, according to the document, is that more than 13,000 Boko Haram hostages have been freed from Boko Haram captivity, including 106 of the Chibok Girls abducted in April 2014, and 105 of the Dapchi Girls abducted in February 2018.

Others are the capture of Boko Haram’s operational and spiritual headquarters, “Camp Zero”, in Sambisa Forest, in December 2016 after which the Nigerian Army conducted its Small Arms Championship from 26th to 31st March 2017, a measure aimed at enabling the Armed forces to dominate the area, and avoid regrouping by the terrorists.

The document also said Mr Buhari in 2016 transferred two AW 101 Helicopters from the Presidential Air Fleet to the Nigerian Air Force, for deployment in support of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East.

He also transferred to the Nigerian Air Force: three Airbus Helicopters H135and three AS365 Dauphin helicopters, from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the establishment of a Naval Outpost in the Lake Chad Basin and another establishment of the 8 Task Force Division in Monguno to further strengthen military presence in the North East.

North-Central

In the North-central, Mr Buhari ordered the deployment of a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, the State Security Service (SSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC). The JMIF is commanded by Mutiu Yekin, a major general.

“On Monday 14th May, 2018, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai, flagged-off the Army’s newly-established 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.

“President Buhari has approved the creation of a new Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“In May 2018 the JMIF kicked off ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’, to counter armed herdsmen and militia groups operating in and around Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara State,” the document reveals.

It also mentioned some of the administration’s achievement in the North-central states to include the establishment of Nigerian Air Force Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, and the deployment of Special Forces to these QRWs.

The Nigeria Police Force, it said, has recently inaugurated a new Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba State, while the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of a second batch of two brand new Mi-35M helicopter gunships at the end of April 2018, to boost internal security.

Military Operations Across Nigeria

The government said so far, successful military operations in the country include: Operation Lafiya Dole, and Operation Last Hold, to defeat Boko Haram in the North-east, Operation Whirl Stroke, operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.

There was also Exercise Crocodile Smile I (September 2016) and II (October 2017) to curtail the menace of militant activities in the Niger Delta; Exercise Obangame, a multinational operation aimed at securing and protecting the Gulf of Guinea; Operation Awatse, a joint operation between the Military and the Police, in South-west Nigeria, to flush out militants and pipeline vandals, which commenced July 2016, and still ongoing; and Exercise Python Dance I (November 2016) and II (September 2017) in the South-east, to tackle kidnappers and militant elements.

Major Arrests/Crimes Syndicates Dismantled

The Buhari government said it arrested one Usman Mohammed, aka Khalid Al-Barnawi, leader of the Ansaru Terrorist group and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, with a $6m United States bounty on his head in April 2016.

The document said Mr Mohammed is currently being prosecuted alongside his accomplices.

It also said Amodu Salifu, leader of an ISIS affiliate group active in North Central Nigeria, plotting to bomb foreign embassies, was arrested in March 2017, while

Two suspected Ansaru leaders, Ahmed Momoh and Al-amin Mohammed Jamin, were arrested in April 2017 at Igarra in Edo State.

“The two were confirmed associates of Abu Uwais, a prominent Ansaru kingpin terrorising residents in Kogi and Edo states.

“In December 2017, the following notorious kidnappers were killed in Kogi State: Ahmadu Sulaiman (aka Oga), Shumo Haruna (aka Halilu Aliyu) and Abdullahi Abdulkadir aka Maijaki. They were responsible for high-profile killings and kidnappings in/around Ajaokuta.

“Militant, Don Waney, responsible for several murders in Rivers State, killed by the military in January 2018,” the document said, adding that the Badoo Ritualists’ gang was dismantled in Lagos State

“In January 2018, four suspects notorious for robbing and/or kidnapping commuters in Kogi State and its environs, were arrested by the DSS in Otokiti, Adavi LGA of Kogi State: Mohammed Kabir (aka Master and Nicko), Muhammed Musa (aka World Best), Audu Emmanuel (aka Sneider) and Jallo Yunusa.

“On 17th February, 2018, at Irrua, Edo State, DSS operatives arrested a gang of high profile kidnappers who dominated the Kogi and Edo corridors: Umar Abubakar (aka Small), Abubakar Ahmadu (aka Sarkin Yaki), Aliyu Abubakar (aka Koroko), Aliyu Mohammed (aka Chogo) and Abubakar Umaru (aka Bokolori).

“Cattle rustling kingpin, Tsoho Buhari, aka Buharin Daji, killed in Zamfara State in March 2018. Several members of his gang have also been killed or arrested by security forces.

“(On 14th December, 2017, Umar Abubakar (aka Yellow), one of his top associates, was shot and killed by DSS in a gun battle in Adavi LGA, Kogi State,” the government said.

It also said in May 2018, some crime suspects were arrested in and around Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, by the Nigeria Police Force, while the major masterminds of the Offa Robbery, in Kwara State were arrested by the Nigeria Police Force in May 2018.


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