“Help Us Recover $150 billion Looted In Past Decade,” Buhari Writes In WashingtonPost

Nigeria Committed To Good Governance And Fighting Terror

This month, the world moved a step closer to the defeat of Boko Haram, the jihadist group that has terrorized hundreds of thousands in the northern states of Nigeria. In one of my first acts since taking office as president six weeks ago, I have replaced the heads of Nigeria’s army, navy and air force. Our new military leadership has not been chosen because of their familiarity with those in government, as was too often the case in the past, but on their track records and qualifications alone.

These new military leaders will be based in Borno State in northern Nigeria, where the headquarters of the armed services has been relocated. This shift of resources and command directly to the front line, in addition to the replacement of the head of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s intelligence organization, and a new emphasis on working in partnership with our neighbors, has equipped us to take the fight directly to Boko Haram.


Already we are beginning to see a degrading of Boko Haram’s capabilities as a fighting force. In recent weeks, it appears to have shifted away from confronting the military directly to an increase in attacks on civilian areas, as we saw only last week when an elderly woman and 10-year-old girl blew themselves up at a Muslim prayer gathering in northeastern Nigeria. We should not be confused by this change, hateful as it is: It does not mean that Boko Haram is succeeding in its aims — it shows that it is losing.

While we work to defeat the terrorists, I ask the people of Nigeria and the world for resolve and fortitude. The campaign we will wage will not be easy; it may not be swift. We should expect stages of success and also moments when it may appear that our advances have been checked. But no one should have any doubt as to the strength of our collective will or my commitment to rid this nation of terror and bring back peace and normalcy to all affected areas.

Similarly, my determination should not be underestimated in other matters. This includes instilling good governance and tackling the scourge of corruption that has held Nigeria back for too long.

Former Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan

As I meet with President Obama today — the first time a president of the United States will encounter a Nigerian counterpart following the peaceful transfer of power in a contested election in our history — I will be discussing my plans for critical reforms. So, too, will I discuss why the formation of my administration is taking time and, crucially, why it must. Already there are voices saying these changes are taking too long — even though only six weeks have passed since my inauguration. I hear such calls, but this task cannot and should not be rushed.

My Cabinet Ministers Will Be Appointed In September

When cabinet ministers are appointed in September, it will be some months after I took the oath of office. It is worth noting that Obama himself did not have his full Cabinet in place for several months after first taking office; the United States did not cease to function in the interim. In Nigeria’s case, it would neither be prudent nor serve the interests of sound government to have made these appointments immediately on my elevation to the presidency; instead, Nigeria must first put new rules of conduct and good governance in place.

I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that this process is carried out correctly, just as it has been crucial to first install the correct leadership of the military and security services before we fully take the fight to Boko Haram.

I now seek Obama’s assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade…

There are too few examples in the history of Nigeria since independence where it can be said that good management and governance were instituted at a national level. This lack of a governance framework has allowed many of those in charge, devoid of any real checks and balances, to plunder. The fact that I now seek Obama’s assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade and held in foreign bank accounts on behalf of former, corrupt officials is testament to how badly Nigeria has been run. This way of conducting our affairs cannot continue.
Indeed, the failure of governance, it can be argued, has been as much a factor in Nigeria’s inability thus far to defeat Boko Haram as have been issues with the military campaign itself.

Former president’s Abdusalami and Jonathan of the PDP while having meetings over holding president-eloect Buhari to give amnesty if to be handed power
Former president’s Abdusalami and Jonathan of the PDP while having meetings over holding president-eloect Buhari to give amnesty if to be handed power

So the path we must take is simple, even if it is not easy: First, instill rules and good governance; second, install officials who are experienced and capable of managing state agencies and ministries; and third, seek to recover funds stolen under previous regimes so that this money can be invested in Nigeria for the benefit of all of our citizens.

We seek the support and partnership of the United States in these tasks. The importance of the fight against terrorism and corruption in Nigeria, Africa’s most powerful economy and largest populace, cannot be underestimated. Our allies can provide much-needed military training and intelligence as our soldiers take the war effort to Boko Haram. Similarly, we look to U.S. businesses as well as the Obama administration to help develop governance initiatives that can ensure that Nigeria’s wealth benefits all its people, not just a few. By taking these steps, we will be positioned to benefit from increased investment — particularly in energy and electricity — from the United States.

I was elected on a platform of change. I know this is what the people of Nigeria desire more than anything else. I know they are impatient for action. I realize the world waits to see evidence that my administration will be different from all those that came before. Yet reforming my country after so many years of abuse cannot be achieved overnight. In our campaigns against both Boko Haram and corruption, we should remain steadfast and remember, as it is said: “Have patience. All things become difficult before they become easy.


Boko Haram invades Kogi prison, frees 143/Suicide Bomber in Potiskum

The police and the Army have launched a manhunt for inmates of the Koton-Karfi Prison in Kogi State, who were set free by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents.

There were about 145 inmates in the 80-year-old prison as of 10pm on Sunday when the gunmen gained entry into the prison by blowing up its iron bars with an improvised explosive device.

A male prison officer and an inmate were injured while another inmate was found dead after the attackers left.

Twelve of those who fled were said to have returned to the prison under controversial circumstances.
Another Scene of the Koton-Karfe Prison break in Kogi State … on Monday

A prison source told one of our correspondents on Monday that the 12 returned of their own volition but the Nigeria Prisons Service Public Relations Officer, Ope Fatinikun, said they were captured.

Fatinikun added, ‘‘Unknown gunmen invaded Koton- Karfe prison between 9.30am and 10pm and immediately it happened, the acting Comptroller-General of Prisons, Aminu Suley, informed the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, and they ordered policemen and soldiers to beef up security around the prison and to arrest the fleeing inmates.”

The gunmen were said to have also broken some of the prison’s walls before vandalising its record office.

Our source who pleaded anonymity said sounds of gunshots caused panic close to the prison which is located on the Lokoja-Abuja Road.

According to him, the gunmen operated unchallenged for hours before security operatives arrived in the prison after they had left.

The comptroller-General of the NPS told journalists when he visited the Prison in company with Governor Idris Wada on Monday that the gunmen forcibly freed the inmates.

He said that 26 of the inmates were convicts while 119 were awaiting trial for different offences.

He lamented the congestion of the prison and pleaded with Wada to prevail on the judiciary to quicken the trial of those on awaiting list.

Wada said he would invoke his power of prerogative of mercy to set free some of the inmates .

He said that he would also urge the chief judge of the state to free some of the inmates.

The governor said security operatives were prompt in their response when they were alerted, adding that it was regrettable that much damage had been done before their arrival.

He also decried the deterioration of the prison, saying it was not good for human habitation.

The governor promised to provide beddings for the inmates who had been forced to live in sub-human conditions.

Wada urged the Federal Government to expedite action on the new Koto-karfi prison. He added that when the prison was completed, the old building which was established in 1934 would become a tourism centre.

The Koton-Karfe prison was attacked in February 2012 by Boko Haram members who freed 119 inmates.

Meanwhile, the Police in Yobe State have confirmed the killing of four persons by a suicide bomber who attacked a religious procession in Potiskum.

This figure was however disputed by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the town, Mustapha Lawan, who lamented that 26 people died in the incident.

The suicide bomber was said to have joined the procession by Shiites muslims celebrating the annual Ashurah (the 10th day of Muharram 1436 celebration).

The state Commissioner of Police, Markus Danladi, who addressed journalists, said that five people were injured in the blast.

He said, “The blast killed three members of the Muslim brotherhood plus the bomber. Before we got to the scene, the group had evacuated the bodies of those effected by the blast.”

But Lawan told journalists on the telephone that apart from the 13 persons who died on the spot, 13 others who were among the injured later passed on where they were being treated.

Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam condemned the attack on the procession as heinous, barbaric and unwarranted.

The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Abdullahi Bego, said it was regrettable that the attack came at a time that peace was gradually returning to the state.

Gaidam, who described those behind the attack as “criminals who want to fan the embers of religious discord,” called on the people to remain calm and vigilant.

The governor directed government hospitals in the area to provide immediate medical treatment to all the victims of the attack free of charge.

Copyright PUNCH.