•Says country paying back what was taken
•Insists security situation has improved, 600 kidnap victims in captivity for two years rescued quietly
•Crude output rose to 1.7 barrels per day from 900,000 last year
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday, declared that former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration bankrupted Nigeria.
In the first official pronouncement of the federal government on the state of finances of the government after Buhari’s eight years administration, the nation’s top security man, affirmed that the President Bola Tinubu-led government inherited a “bankrupted country”.
Ribadu, who spoke at the Chief of Defence Intelligence Annual Conference themed: “Leveraging Defence Diplomacy and Regional Collaboration for Enhanced National Security”, said the federal government was “paying back what was taken” or stolen.
In a no-holds-barred remark, Ribadu stopped short of saying that the nation was stolen blind by the last administration, rendering the treasury empty.
“We are facing very serious budgetary constraints. It is okay for me to tell you. It is fine for you to know. We have a very serious situation.
“We have inherited a very difficult country, a bankrupt country to the extent that we are paying back what was taken. It is serious.
“But this administration is doing its best to meet our requirements including that of the armed forces,” he lamented.
Speaking at the occasion attended by the Ministers of Defence, Mohammed Badaru and Bello Matawalle, Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS), Gen Christopher Musa, service chiefs and former service chiefs, on the security situation in the country, he praised the Armed Forces of Nigerian (AFN) for their exemplary performance that kept the peace of the nation.
“You have done well and you are doing well. You are the reason why we are a nation today. This country is grateful. You are the reason why we have peace. We have a very solid security team, the service chiefs”, he said.
Ribadu noted that in spite of the constraints, the security situation in the country had improved significantly.
“Things have changed. Things are changing. You may not be reading it but things have changed. You have given live back to the office of the NSA”, he said.
He commended the defence attaches for the wonderful job they were engaged in and urged them to do more.
He said the defence attachee system was a way to ensure good relationship between Nigeria and host countries.
The NSA said the improved security situation has led to reduction from 1,200 violent deaths to 100.
“We used to have 1,200 violent deaths before in the country. Now we have less than 100 deaths”, he said.
Ribadu maintained that following the improved security situation in the country, not a single death was recorded in Borno State, an erstwhile battleground for insurgents.
He disclosed that security forces quietly rescued 600 kidnap victims, who were in captivity for two years.
“We have not witnessed one single death in Borno state since the coming of this administration.
“We rescued 600 kidnap victims who have been in captivity for two years without making any noise about it”, he said.
The security chief further maintained that the improving security situation in the country had led to increased output in the production of crude oil when placed against last year’s figures.
“Crude output has risen to 1.7 million barrels per day from 900,000 barrels per day since last year,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Maj Gen EAP Undiandeye, said the conference was organised to enable the agency to respond to present and future threats and to prepare defence attaches to be able to identify threats.