I Will Punish Any Leader Caught Stealing Public Funds, Buhari Vows

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Muhammadu Buhari

By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja assured Nigerians that any leader undermining the economy by denying workers their benefits, while stuffing personal accounts with public funds would not escape punishment considering the current anti-corruption dragnet.

The president who made the assertion when he received All Progressives Congress (APC) delegation from Benue State, led by Senator George Akume, said federal government’s bailout to states and Paris Club funds were basically to alleviate the sufferings of the people, describing misappropriations as unjust and unfair to workers.

“I honestly don’t know how people sleep when workers have not been paid. The workers have to pay rent, buy food, send their children to school and they have healthcare to take care of.

“I assure you that my main interest is all Nigerians in all parts of the country. Therefore, if anybody who tries to create any impression that I prefer any group across ethnicity or religion let him dare me by being caught red handed stealing public funds.  I will deal with him,’’ he said.

President Buhari told the APC delegation that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had been monitoring the plight of workers across the country and utilisation of the bailout and Paris Club funds by some states.

Appreciating the visit President Buhari said:  “I thank you for your courage to come and see me. This visit has resuscitated our morale.”

President Buhari said the federal government had made significant progress in diversifying the economy by investing in agriculture and encouraging more individuals and entrepreneurs to go into farming, pointing out that Nigeria would soon become self-sufficient in feeding its citizenry.

“We are proud of what we have achieved with resources at our disposal,’’ he added, listing “ongoing road, rail, sea port, airport and power projects as hallmarks of his administration’s commitment to improving lives,” he noted.

According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria will be further motivated to work together and support all interested Nigerians to take up farming on commercial scale.

He noted that the killings across the country, including in Benue, Zamfara and Taraba, were carried out by “ungodly’’ people who had no religious or ethnic inclinations.

“We know about herders. The ones we knew carried sticks, and sometimes cutlasses to cut foliage for their cattle. We now have people who carry AK 47s and pretend they are herdsmen.

“We are working hard to secure our borders. We are going to see how the old cattle routes can be opened. We will control movement. Please beg our people to be patient,’’ he said.

The President pointed out that security personnel were already uncovering the network of the killers and arresting them.