Femi Adesina: Firing Blanks, Dangerously By Kennedy Emetulu

I like and respect Femi Adesina and I consider him a friend. I have tried not to criticize him publicly; indeed, whatever I’ve had to say to him, I’ve said it to him privately. But I’m going to make an exception here. I’m doing so because I consider this piece an insult to Nigerians who endured 50 days of unmitigated insults from him and all those who spoke publicly for the president while he was in London. It is my view that rather than write a piece like this publicly upon the return of the president, Femi should have quietly thanked God and learned the lessons of the episode, the most important one being not to insult Nigerians over this matter, no matter their stance. Femi needs to get a good talking-to over this and I’m not hesitating to be one of those to tell him the truth loud and clear.

What we have in this piece is what happens when you cross the line from the public to the private, from the professional to the personal. Oh, of course, I’m not saying when you occupy the position of a media spokesperson for the president you shouldn’t have a personal relationship with him, no; however, the most important relationships are the professional and public ones because those are the primary reasons you are there.

You are not appointed as an ab’obaku or someone who must follow the president or whoever you are appointed to represent in the media to the grave. You are appointed to sell him and his program to the Nigerian people. You are appointed to do so professionally and respectfully and to do so with the voice and mind of the Nigerian people themselves because they are the people you are actually working for, not the president.

The president is elected to do a good job and you are appointed to constantly inform the people about this good job that the president is expected to be doing. You are the bridge between them and the president and his administration. Your job is to make your boss acceptable to Nigerians; your job is not to vilify the opposition, tag them uncharitably and insultingly or divide Nigerians along partisan lines. Your job is to win over all the haters of the president. You might not succeed in doing so fully, but you must be seen constantly to be attempting to do so at all times.

The way you talk in public and the way you respond to criticisms of the administration and the way you explain or defend your principal must show that you respect every Nigerian, no matter their view. For instance, as it concerns this matter, whether these Nigerians are mischief makers, people who wish the president dead or people opposed to his person and his administration, it shouldn’t matter. They are not the controllers of fates and the president’s well-being does not depend on them. Joining issues with them this way is childish, unintelligent and demeaning. Nigerians have seen that their president is back, they know he is recovering from an illness and is likely to return for more treatment and they have heard from him themselves; so of what value is Femi jumping in the gutter to engage anyone over this? While the president must receive flak as par for the course because of the nature of his job, you must be like Caesar’s wife, above reproach, because you are there to make things easier for him with the people, not harder. Rather than creating a siege mentality around the president, you should be showing with your open door and your open heart that the president is not ensconced in Aso Rock, removed from national reality.

This piece shows what happens when you cannot rein in your emotions or check your bias when occupying a public position. Does Femi think he’s helping the president’s cause with this piece? Does he think this shows how loyal he is to the president? Does he think this would win anybody over to his side? Does he think this absolves him and his office from the blame that must surely be theirs for the ineptitude and shoddiness that attended their handling of the whole affair? The obvious irony here is that this piece is the biggest case of gloating we have seen since the president fell ill and was rushed to London. Can’t he see that he’s actually contradicting the maturity he attributes to the president’s conduct upon his return? To cut a long story short, this piece is unhelpful. Femi should not have written it.

Buhari Gives Adesina Surprise Phone Call

President Muhammadu Buhari has made Saturday 25 February a day media adviser, Femi Adesina will for long cherish.

President Buhari who is taking an extended vacation in London, 5000 Kms away, called Adesina, on phone, further reducing anxieties about him.

Adesina in both Facebook and Twitter posts today confirmed the president’s call:

“At exactly 2.43 p.m today, Saturday, February 25, 2017, my phone rang. Who was at the other end? Tunde Sabiu, personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Hold on for Mr President,” Tunde said.

And in a matter of seconds, the very familiar voice came:

“Femi, how are you?” (He calls me Adesina most times, but today, he opted for Femi)

I screamed :”Mr President, I have missed you. How are you sir?”

He first laughed. That familiar laugh. Then he said: “I am still resting. Thank you for holding out against mischief makers.”

I said it was my duty, the very least I could do, adding how happy I was to speak with him.

“How is your family?”

I said we were fine, and he asked me to extend his greetings to them.

“I hope to call you again, ” Mr President said, and I bade him farewell, adding: “Best wishes, sir.”

It was a defining moment for me. For more than a month, I had always spoken with aides who are with the President in London. Not once did I ask them to take the phone to him, deliberately so, because I didn’t need to speak with him to validate the fact that he was alive. And since he was on vacation, he had a right to his privacy.

Of his own volition, President Buhari spoke with me. It made my day. Even if he hadn’t done so, he would have remained my President, my leader, and my man. Any day.”

President Buhari has been away from Nigeria since 19 January.

NAN

No Plans To Replace Service Chiefs – Presidency

The Presidency on Monday denied report in the media of plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, as Service Chiefs.

It said Olonisakin, who is due to retire from the Army next week, is yet to be replaced.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, reads: “It is necessary to respond to a fictive story published in today’s edition of New Telegraph Newspaper, to the effect that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the replacement of Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, as Service Chiefs.

“The newspaper, rather than rush to print an unsubstantiated story, would have done better to confirm the information at its disposal, from many available military and government information channels.

“It then would have avoided the self-inflicted wound of publishing a one-legged story that is not completely true, and damaging its brand in the process.

“Gen. Olonisakin is due to retire from the Army next week, having satisfied the official number of years in service. He is yet to be replaced.

“But the Chief of Naval Staff has a short while more, and President Buhari could, therefore, not have approved his replacement yet.”

The statement noted that the administration has repeatedly pledged commitment to transparency and accountability, which resulted in the availability of information to the media.

“But when some sections of the media would rather speculate, than cross-check and double check information, then it borders on deliberate mischief.

“That, surely, is not the way to go, for national cohesion and development,” it added.

The Unspiritual Side Of Aso Villa By Femi Adesina

Let me begin with two clarifications. Aso Villa is not my home; I am just passing through. Even this world is nobody’s home; we are just birds of passage. So, let nobody turn up his nose in derision, and say; “he’s writing to the landlord of Aso Villa, defending a place where’s he’s just a tenant.”

Yes, nobody is a landlord in the Villa, not even rational presidents. They can only live there for a maximum of eight years, if Nigerians so decide. And for me, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels only need to beckon me from Heaven’s open door, and I wouldn’t feel at home in this world anymore.

The second clarification. Let nobody, particularly on social media, begin to insinuate that Femi Adesina is at war with Reuben Abati, his immediate predecessor as presidential spokesman. This piece you are beginning to read is not about Abati as a person; it is about his spiritual ideas and convictions, which I think need some appraisal, as they are rather unspiritual. Abati and myself have been professional colleagues for almost 30 years, we have a lot of mutual friends, and know how to reach each other when necessary. So, this is not a case of Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman being at war with Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesman. What for?

In his piece in The Guardian of October 14, 2016, Abati wrote under the headline, ‘The spiritual side of Aso Villa.’ What were his conclusions? For the benefit of those who did not read the highly entertaining piece (in fact, there were moments I had my two legs in the air, laughing, as I read), let me do a brief summary. Call it ‘gospel’ according to Abati, and you would be right: There is some form of witchcraft, which causes occupants of Aso Villa to take weird decisions. Working in the Villa makes you susceptible to some sort of evil influences because there is something supernatural about power and closeness to it. Some of those who lived or worked in the Villa had something dying under their waists (for the men), while some of the women became merchants of dildo because they had suffered a special kind of deaths in their homes. “The ones who did not have such misfortune had one ailment or the other that they had to nurse. From cancer to brain and prostate surgery and whatever, the Villa was a hospital full of agonizing patients,” Abati posited.

Reading the piece through, you would think Aso Villa was nothing but what Godfrey Chaucer called “a thoroughfare of woes.” In fact, Abati submitted that the Villa “should be converted into a spiritual museum, , and abandoned.” Holy Moses! Jumping Jehoshaphat!

If Aso Villa was such a haunted house, why then do most occupants like to stay put, right from the first tenant, Ibrahim Babangida, who was virtually forced to step aside in August 1993? And why did Goodluck Jonathan, Abati’s principal, spend money in trillions (in different currencies of the world), just to perpetuate himself in a house that consumes its occupants? Being a literary scholar, Abati would remember the doctor in Macbeth, that work of William Shakespeare, who was detailed to cure Lady Macbeth of the neurosis that afflicted her, after she had been party to the deaths of King Duncan and Banq so that her husband would be the king of Scotland. A spiritually troubled Lady Macbeth sleepwalked every night, trying to wash her hands of the innocent blood that had been shed. The doctor was so fed up with the terrifying atmosphere that he said to himself: “Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, profit should hardly again draw me here.” Did Abati ever say the same of the Villa, a place where men became women “after something died below their waists?” We do not have it on record that Abati showed a clean pair of heels, or that he would not have stayed if Dr. Jonathan had won reelection, and had asked him to continue in his position as the adviser on media. Or was it the case of eternal fascination for the thing that repelled and terrified you? Mysterium tremendum et fascinas, as it is called in Latin.

For me, what Abati did in the October 14 piece was simply a glorification and deification of superstition, something that attempted to elevate works of darkness above the powers of God. The writer merely fed the cravings and propensity of people for the supernatural, in a way that stoked and kindled the kiln of fear, rather than that of faith.
Let’s take the issues one after the other, and look at them against true spiritual principles. Christianity is the one I am most familiar with, and that would be my benchmark.

In Aso Villa, houses were haunted, people were oppressed into taking curious decisions, they fell ill, died, or suffered the losses of loved ones, so Abati claimed. Are such peculiar only to the presidential villa? Should all those who live or work there automatically enjoy immunity from the vicissitudes of life, simply because they walked the corridors of power?

Wasn’t President Umaru Yar’Adua right inside the presidential villa, when he told us on national television: “I am a human being. I can fall sick. I can recover. And I can die.” That was a practical man for you. Abati unwittingly wants his readers to believe that once you operated in or around Aso Villa, you became a Superman. No. You are as mortal as can be. The Holy Bible does not even give us such leeway. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…”(1 Cor 10:13). There are certain things common to man, and they can happen to you wherever you are. At the White House. At 10, Downing Street.

Buckingham Palace, Aso Villa. Wherever. “But such as is common to man…” Let no man feed us with the bogey that such things happen because of where you live or operate from. There are some things that are just common to man, and which may happen to you as long as you are on this side of eternity.

I lost my sister in a road crash last year. She was a professor of Dramatic Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. Abati knew her well, as they both did post-graduate studies at the University of Ibadan in the 1980s. Abati was among those who called to condole with me. My sister never visited the Villa in her lifetime. Even if she did, that could never have had anything to do with her death on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. To believe and teach otherwise is to carry superstition to a ridiculous level, and venerate the Devil, granting him omnipotence, an attribute that belongs to God only. For the Devil, doing evil is a full-time business, and whether you had anything to do with Aso Villa or not, he continued with his pernicious acts. Does that then suggest that mankind is helpless before evil? No. God still has ultimate powers. He can spare you “as a father spares the son that serves him.”

(Malachi 3:17). If you are under the pavilion of God, sleep, wake and operate daily in Aso Villa, you are covered, no matter the evil that lurks around, if any. There is a better covenant established on greater promises, and that is the canopy under which you should function. God can spare you from all evils, and if He permits any other thing, it is “such as is common to man,” and not because of Aso Villa.

If houses catch fire in the Villa, how many conflagrations occur in other parts of the city? If some men in the Villa suffered erectile dysfunction in Abati’s time, doesn’t the Journal of Sexual Medicine tell us that about 20 million American men have something that has died under their waists? It is one thing that became prevalent in the last two to three decades, due to modern lifestyle. Causes range from age, to stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol, medication, and several others. Even, a study showed that watching too much television kills something under the waist. So why does Abati make it seem as if it is a copyright of Aso Villa?

Now, another clarification. Don’t I believe in demonic infestation and manifestation? I sure do. I won’t be a student of the Holy Bible if I don’t. Jesus talked about the man who got delivered from demonic possession, and because that man did not yield himself to a better influence, the evil spirit that inhabited him came back with seven more powerful spirits, and the end of the man was worse than his beginning. Abati wrote of persons in the Villa, “walking upside down, head to the ground.” Let me share this story I heard over 20 years ago. There was this young Christian who gave scant regards to demons and what they could do. In fact, he almost didn’t believe demons existed. One day, as he walked along the ever busy Broad Street in Lagos, God opened his spiritual eyes.

Some people were walking on their heads! And not only that, as they passed by other people, they slapped them with the soles of their feet. If you got so slapped, you developed an affliction, which you would nurse for the rest of your life. Yet, you never knew where it came from.

As the young man saw that vision and got its spiritual explanation, he began to s-c-r-e-a-m. Was that in Aso Villa? “Such as is common to man…” Evil exists everywhere. Trying to source and locate it in Aso Villa is disingenuous. You need God everywhere. In Europe, Asia, America, Oceania, Aso Villa. There is evil everywhere, and we need not make fetish of any place as being more evil infested than other places. Since Satan got thrown out of Heaven due to his inordinate ambition, evil had resided in the world. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). The Devil lives in the world, but God is never helpless before evil. He will never be. Let the Devil commit suicide if he is not happy about that fact. God rules!

If every principal officer including the President and his wife suffered series of tragedies as Abati claimed, and he himself had breathing problems and walked with the aid of crutches for months, it was ” such as is common to man” and not necessarily because they were in Aso Villa. But of course, if such people put their hands in evil, possibly to gain some things in power or perpetuate themselves beyond the time heaven granted, then “he who rolls a stone, a stone shall be rolled back to him. He that digs a pit, shall fall into it.” That is what the Good Book says. You can then hardly blame Aso Villa for such payback time, can you?

To avoid getting sucked into what Abati calls “the cloud of evil” that hangs around power, what to do is to hold ephemeral things loosely. Know that they are temporal, and will truly end. Power is one of such things. Will anybody be a permanent landlord at Aso Villa? It would be foolhardy to have such mindset. A couple of times I’d had some private discussions with President Buhari, and he had lamented the state of the nation, he invariably ended with the statement, “while we are here, we will do our best.” It shows a man who knows that he’s not a permanent landlord at Aso Villa, and can never be. He would use the opportunity he has to do his best for Nigeria, and then move on.

That is a good mindset and a safety valve from getting sucked into “the cloud of evil.” Daily, I tell myself that I am just passing through Aso Villa. And while there, just like my principal, I will do my best. It could be long, it could be short, depending on God and the man who appointed me, but one day, it would be over, and some other people would come in to do their bit. It is inexorable. The real treasures are laid somewhere beyond the blue.
Abati says we should pray before people pack their things into Aso Villa. I say not just Aso Villa, but everywhere. Pray before you pack into any place, because there are some things “such as is common to man.” It is only God that keeps from such. And He is sovereign in terms of what He prevents, and in what He allows. Ours is to pray, and believe. Prayer works.

“Aso Villa is in urgent need of redemption. I never slept in the apartment they gave me in that Villa for an hour,” wrote Abati. Well, different strokes for different folks. Hear what the Good Book says: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Here am I. For over one year, I have lived in the house allocated to me at the Villa. I sleep so soundly, I even snore. In fact, I snore so loud that at times, I wake myself up with the sound.

-Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari Explains Nigeria’s Economic Woes

President Muhammadu Buhari has explained to Nigerian professionals in America how and why the Nigeria economy got into trouble.
The professionals, including top flight aeronautics engineers, physicians, I.T experts, a Judge, a top policewoman, entrepreneurs, an Import Specialist at Customs and Border Protection, professors, two straight A students, and many others, had converged from different parts of the United States of America.
President Buhari had the assurance that with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said: “I am very pleased with this meeting. Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians.
“They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.
“We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure.
“Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel. I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars?
“I did not believe, and still do not believe. In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?
“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.
“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.
“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.
“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar. But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent. But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands.
“Now, we have dealt with that insurgency, and subverted their recruitment base.” He said
Buhari continued: “Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts. It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salaries.
“But I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job. In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General. I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states. I was head of state, got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which had N53 billion of that time in Nigerian banks.
“God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me.
“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready.” He added
All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.

Buhari Dismisses Rumours Of Kachikwu Probe, Urges Restraint Against Unproven Allegations

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to discerning Nigerians to ignore orchestrated attempts to sully the integrity of ministers and other senior government officials, who are being tarred with the brush of corruption without any concrete evidence.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina said Buhari, in his reaction to reports, particularly by online media, that the immediate past Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who is also Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, is being investigated over crude oil swap deals and gas liftings during his tenure as GMD of the petroleum corporation, appealed for decent and civilized comments, particularly when it has to do with the integrity of those who are serving the country.

“Terrible and unfounded comments about other people’s integrity are not good. We are not going to spare anybody who soils his hands, but people should please wait till such individuals are indicted,” the President said.

President Buhari reiterated the administration’s commitment to probity, accountability and integrity, promising that transparency remains a watchword, which would never be trifled with.

Presidency Denies Sponsoring Forgery Case Against Saraki, Ekweremadu

The Presidency on Saturday said it did not originate the legal battles currently before the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH.

Saraki who emerged the President of the Senate against the position of the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress that supported Senator Ahmed Lawan’s candidature is also undergoing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false declaration of assets while he was governor of Kwara State.

Only last week, Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, were taken to the court for alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that was used to inaugurate the Eighth Senate.

Adesina said the Presidency was not responsible for Saraki’s travails.

One of our correspondents had sought to know from the presidential spokesman if Saraki would be spared his legal troubles if he stepped down as President of the Senate.

But Adesina said the issue did not arise since the Presidency did not initiate his legal battle.

“Senator Saraki’s legal battle was not originated by the Presidency in the first place, so this issue does not arise,” he said.

Notwithstanding the Presidency’s position, two presidential aides are part of the 14 witnesses listed by the Federal Government against Saraki and Ekweremadu by the time the trial gets underway on Monday.

Others for trial on Monday are the immediate past Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, and the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Benedict Efeture.

The two presidential aides listed as witnesses by the Federal Government are the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang; and the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.

Enang and Ojudu were both members of the Seventh Senate before their current appointments.

Buhari Goes To London On Vacation, To See Doctors For Infection

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday begin a 10-day vacation to attend to an ear infection that has forced him to shelve some local and foreign trips lately.

According to a statement on Sunday evening by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President is currently battling with what he called “a persistent ear infection.”

The presidential spokesman said although Buhari had been examined and treated by his personal physician and a specialist in Abuja, both doctors advised him to go for further evaluation in London as a precaution.

He said the President would therefore use the 10-day break to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist in London.

The statement read, “President Buhari will take 10 days off and travel to London from Monday June 6th, to rest.

“During the holiday, the President will see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for a persistent ear infection.

“The President was examined by his personal physician and an E.N.T specialist in Abuja and was treated.

“Both Nigerian doctors recommended further evaluation purely as a precaution.”

There have been speculations over the President’s state of health since he shelved his scheduled two-day official visit to Lagos State at the last minute and directed Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to represent him.

The Presidency had attributed the development to what it called “scheduling difficulties.”

The issue resonated on Thursday when Buhari again shelved his trip to Rivers State during which he would have inaugurated the clean-up of Ogoniland and other oil-impacted communities.

He again sent Osinbajo to represent him at the event with the Presidency saying there was no big deal in the Vice-President representing Buhari at functions since “the Presidency is one.”

Over the weekend, Buhari again put off his scheduled trip to Dakar, Senegal for the 49th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States, asking Osinbajo to once again represent him.

In all, the Presidency had claimed that the President was “fit as a fiddle” until Sunday when it finally admitted the ill-health.

This is the second time Buhari will be proceeding on vacation this year.

The President had earlier embarked on a six-day vacation between February 5 and 10.

He remained in London throughout the first vacation.

He had earlier granted an interview where he said the doctors he had been consulting since the 1970s were based in London.

Buhari Blames International Community For Stolen Funds

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday indicted the international community for looking the other way while corrupt persons stashed away stolen funds in secret bank accounts abroad.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari said this in London at the opening of the Anti-Corruption Summit hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.

To stem the tide, Buhari urged the international community to urgently create an anti-corruption infrastructure and a strategic action plan to facilitate the speedy recovery and repatriation of all stolen funds hidden in secret bank accounts abroad.
He said new measures against corruption that would be adopted by the summit should also include mechanisms that would assist a country like Nigeria to combat illegal activities such as crude oil theft to which, he said, Nigeria loses about $7bn annually.

He said, “When it comes to tackling corruption, the international community has unfortunately looked away for too long. We need to step up and tackle this evil together. That is why we have gathered here today.

“Corruption creates a system where resources are shared by a small elite while the majority wallows in poverty. Corruption also undermines the ability of countries to finance development.

“I recall, in this regard, the landmark Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the 3rd International Conference on Finance for Development held in January this year.

“A prominent feature of that global framework is the recognition that good governance and measures to combat corruption and curb illicit financial flows will be integral to the effort to attain sustainable development globally by the year 2050.

“It is for this reason that my government is determined to address illicit financial outflows which have served as a major impediment to progress in our country.
“I wish to reiterate our demand that the global community must come up with mechanisms for dismantling havens for stolen funds and facilitate the return of stolen assets to their countries of origin.”

In his opening remarks at the summit, Cameron was reported to have applauded Buhari’s efforts at curbing corruption in Nigeria.
Other speakers at the opening session included the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry.

Buhari To Seek Greater International Cooperation Against Public Officials At London Summit

President Muhammadu Buhari will by next Tuesday depart Nigeria for London to participate in the international Anti-Corruption Summit which will be held in the British capital on Thursday, May 12, 2016 and hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron with many other Heads of State and Government in attendance.

Ahead of the opening of the summit, Buhari will deliver a keynote address titled: “Why We Must Tackle Corruption Together” at a pre-summit conference of development partners, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Transparency International and other civil society groups on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President is among world leaders scheduled to speak at the opening session of the Anti-Corruption Summit with others, including Prime Minister Cameron and the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

It reads: “Thereafter, President Buhari will join other participating heads of State and Government at special plenary sessions on Exposing Corruption, Tackling Corruption and Driving out Corruption.

“In his address to the summit and interactions with other participating leaders, President Buhari will urge the international community to move faster on the dismantling of safe havens for the proceeds of corruption and the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

“The President will also reaffirm his administration’s unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption and the Federal Government’s readiness to partner with international agencies and other countries to identify, apprehend and punish corrupt public officials.

“President Buhari’s delegation to the Summit will include the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

“Before returning to Abuja on Friday, May 13, 2016, the President is expected to have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Cameron to discuss ongoing Nigeria-Britain collaboration in the war against corruption and terrorism, as well as other issues, including trade and economic relations between both countries.”

Buhari Assures Catholic Bishops Security Agencies Will Deal With Rampaging Herdsmen

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night restated his administration’s resolve to deal decisively and expeditiously with continued attacks on communities across the country by armed herdsmen.

He spoke at a meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), at the State House, Abuja.

President Buhari confirmed that heads of national security agencies have been ordered to take all necessary action to apprehend and expose those behind the heinous attacks.

Buhari, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said: “We are determined to secure all Nigerians and I have told the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies, in very strong terms, to deal decisively with the attackers.”

He expressed his personal condolences to the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, the people of Ukpabi Nimbo and all other communities that have suffered fatalities and other losses from the recent attacks.

Speaking on other national issues, the President assured the Bishops that he was acting with deliberation and moving methodically to implement his change agenda for the good of the country.

He said: “We need to rebuild our institutions methodically, we need to change the way we do things.

“In the last 10 years, crude oil sold for more that $100 per barrel, but Nigeria did not save. That is why we have found ourselves where we are today,” President Buhari told the Catholic Bishops, led by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos.

The President also assured them that his administration was working very hard to fulfill all the promises it had made to Nigerians, adding that his greatest motivating factor now is the desire to bring positive change to Nigeria.

On behalf of the bishops, Most Rev. Kaigama expressed the solidarity of the CBCN with the President.

“We are willing to collaborate with you and with your administration, in which we see hope for a greater Nigeria,” he told the President.

The bishops pledged continued prayers for Nigeria and the government, expressing their conviction that current hardships are temporary, and Nigeria will soon overcome its present difficulties.