By Omololu Ogunmade in London
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in London told some Nigerians living in the United Kingdom under the aegis of Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation how â€˜wicked elementsâ€™ during previous administrations plundered the countryâ€™s resources and impoverished the people.
The president, however, told the group led by its leader, Charles Efe Sylvester, that his government would uphold the confidence of its members.
According to Mr. Femi Adesina, the presidentâ€™s media adviser, Buhari said Nigeria was blessed with tremendous human and natural resources, lamenting that â€œfailure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people.â€
Further bemoaning how such â€œwickedâ€ people â€œkept Nigerians poor,â€ the president noted that the current administration met the country without savings and the economy badly vandalised, adding that notwithstanding,â€we have not done too badly.â€
According to him, the damage done to the Nigerian economy in the years of plunder was massive, emphasising that the government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.
He was, however, swift to add that it was impossible to identify and recover all the loot.
â€œIf they had used 50 per cent of the money we made when oil prices went as high as $143 per barrel, and stabilised at $100 with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their businesses.
â€œYou could almost grow food on our roads, as they were abandoned. The stealing was so much, and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly. I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country,â€ Adesina quoted the president.
He said the president commended members of the group for choosing to identify with the country when they have the option of staying here and be comfortable.
â€œI am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us wonâ€™t be abused, we will do our best to justify it,â€ he assured them.
Adesina said the groupâ€™s coordinator, Sylvester, in his submission, stated that the group was happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far, admitting that it came at a difficult time.
â€œYou met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
â€œWe are proud of the speed at which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy general. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy. â€œThe same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals. We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure,â€ Sylvester said.