Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday lamented that his government’s war against corruption had been gruelling and tough, saying the perpetrators of the social malaise were viciously fighting back.

The president, according to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, spoke during a meeting with the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the margins of the Conference on Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

Assuring Kerry, however, that Nigeria was determined to emerge victorious, Buhari explained that corrupt people had accumulated a formidable arsenal of illicit wealth, which they were deploying against the government on diverse fronts.

“But it is a war we are determined to win, and which we will win. People of goodwill are behind us, countries like America and many others are with us, and we will surely win,” the president said.

Buhari also updated Kerry on the war against insurgency and efforts being made to tackle the attendant humanitarian problems in the North-east of Nigeria.

He informed the US Secretary of State that a presidential committee headed by Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma had been constituted to handle the humanitarian challenges in the region.

On the unrest in the Niger Delta, which had resulted in the sabotage of critical oil and power installations, Buhari said the engagement process was proceeding apace, adding that it was rather difficult bringing the main protagonists of the insurgency under one umbrella.

The president said Nigeria was happy with American support on different fronts, assuring Kerry that the economic challenges facing the country were being frontally tackled and would be overcome soon.

Kerry expressed delight at the many successes of the Buhari administration, pledging continued U.S. support in the bid to overcome security, humanitarian, political, and economic challenges.
As the Barack Obama administration exits next January, Kerry said he would love to continue engaging with Nigeria, even in a private capacity. He described Nigeria’s president as a strong international partner in the battle against violent extremism.