Augustine Ehikioya;credit The Nation
• Says pipeline saboteurs, killer herdsmen won’t go unpunished
President Muhammadu Buhari said in London yesterday that the names of corrupt Nigerians will be made public in a speech he intends to deliver on May 29.
He also said that such corrupt individuals will be prosecuted.
Besides, all those involved in blowing up oil installations and sabotaging investments in the Niger Delta region will not go unpunished.
He spoke with journalists on the sideline of the Anti-Corruption Summit.
Buhari said that he has already directed the Chief of Naval Staff and other service chiefs to fish out the brains behind the attacks.
He said: “What I know is that I was elected by the whole country and the least I can do is to keep the country together somehow. I assure you we will develop the capacity to do it.
“If you can recall, the militants, I appointed a retired Brigadier General (Boroh). When I give people assignment, I develop terms of reference for them and I allow them to do their work. I understand the problem. I spoke with the Chief of Naval Staff and other service chiefs to work with him and help him to make sure that those who are blowing the installations, sabotaging investments in Nigeria, we will deal with them eventually.”
The President also said the Federal Government is investigating allegations that it has reneged on the amnesty programme.
“They are saying that the agreement on amnesty, including payment and training and employment were not being met. These are their allegations.
“So we put this officer who is from there to revisit the agreement and get them and see which part of the agreement the Federal Government needs to fulfill.
“The fundamental thing is that we have to secure Nigeria before we can manage it efficiently. I assure you that we are going to do that. Try and develop confidence in our ability to do it eventually.”
On the killer herdsmen, Buhari said they are non-Nigerians who came into Nigeria from Libya.
His words:” because of what happened in Libya, when Ghadaffi, during his 43 year-regime, trained some people from the Sahel militarily. When his regime was overthrown, those people were dispatched to their countries. They found themselves in the Boko Haram and others.
“It is a major regional and virtually African problem now. There is one called Al Qaeda, there is Boko Haram and so on. It is a governmental project now to trace them, disarm them, try them and discipline them.”
He said the Fulani herdsmen “culturally do not stay in one place; they move with the season.
“Normally, harvest is complete much earlier in the North. They have to go southwards for greener pasture.
“Initially, there was what they call cattle routes and grazing areas. They were marked. Infrastructures were put in terms of dams and veterinary clinics.
“Later, the big ogas that came, took over these places and turned them to farms. If we have like 500 cattle, if they do not eat for 24 hours or they want water, you can’t stop them.
“But what they used to do then, if anybody goes outside, he would be arrested, taken before a court and he is fined. If he can pay, the money is taken and given to the farmer. If he can’t pay, the cattle is sold and the farmer is paid. So, people are behaving well.
“So, when people came and took away the land for the cattle route and grazing area, you find out that from Kaduna to Bayelsa, Nigerians are fighting cattle rearers now.
“When I was in PTF, we made a comprehensive study of cattle routes and grazing areas throughout Nigeria. So, I am referring the Governors’ Forum to it and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Let them see what they can do and save the situation.”
He said: “So far, what has come out, what has been recovered in whatever currency from each ministries, departments and individuals, I intend on the 29th to speak on this because all Nigerians are getting from the mass media because of the number of people arrested either by the EFCC, DSS. But we want to make a comprehensive report on the 29th.
On whether the names of those indicted will be published, he said: “Yes, eventually, it has to be done because we want to successfully prosecute them. But you know you cannot go to the courts unless you have documents for prosecution.
“People signed for these monies into their personal accounts, their banks gave statements that the money is there, when it came, how much and so on.”
Also speaking on allegation of selective prosecution, Buhari said: “That is an accusation against the law enforcement agencies. But I assure you that we do not interfere. Try and get those who are now under arrest, you will find out it is across the board.”
On 2016 Budget implementation, he said: “It depends on the efficiency of the technocrats. Yes, we have six months to implement the budget. You know why there was a delay. There is something called padding. I have been in government since 1975. I was governor of what is now six states: Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, that used to be North East. Then I was in Obasanjo’s cabinet, Petroleum for three and a quarter years. I was Head of State for 20 months.
“I hadnever heard about that one padding until this year. And what does it mean? It means that the technocrats just allowed the government to make its noise, to go and make the presentation to the National Assembly. They will remove it and put in their own.
“When we uncovered this, we just had to go back to the basics again. Ministers had to go again and appear before the Minister of Budget and National Planning and make presentations again. This was clearly brought out by the Minister of Health.
“I saw with my own eyes, nobody told me. I was watching NTA and he appeared before a committee that said the minister should come and defend his budget. He looked at what was presented to him as his budget and he said he had nothing to defend, that that was not what he presented.
“Subsequently, we discovered that it was not only the ministry of health. So they allowed us to talk rubbish as government and they do what they like.”