•Meets security chiefs
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Special Crimes Court Bill.
He also urged the judiciary to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court.
The President also called on all tiers of government to develop and implement anti-corruption measures, saying that corruption fight should not be left only to the executive and anti-corruption agencies alone.
Speaking at the national summit on “Diminishing Corruption in Public Service” organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, yesterday at the Presidential Conference Centre in the Villa, the President said, ‘‘THe fight against corruption is of course not only for government and anti-corruption agencies alone. All arms and tiers of government must develop and implement the anti-corruption measures.
‘‘I invite the legislative and judicial arms of government to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court that Nigerians have been agitating for to handle corruption cases.’’
President Buhari noted that the passage of the Bill was a ‘‘specific priority’’ of this administration’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020.
Speaking on his recent directive to all agencies of government to enroll into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the President directed ICPC to beam its searchlight on public institutions that are yet to comply.
He noted that the new directive on IPPIS was intended to halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets.
‘‘I am aware that the Commission recently conducted System Studies and Review of many MDAs to evaluate systems and processes relating to transparency and accountability in personnel and capital spending through which you successfully blocked over N9 billion from being diverted from 2019 personnel budget.
‘‘That was a proactive prevention measure. I have directed that all agencies of government must get on the IPPIS in order to eliminate the padding of personnel budgets.
‘‘I urge ICPC to beam its searchlight on all agencies yet to get on the IPPIS and our e-government platform in order to fully halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets,’’ he said.
The President also used the occasion, which marked the launch of the Constituency Projects Transparency Group (CPTG) Report Phase One, to reiterate his appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption.
‘‘The war against corruption cannot be won without prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment.
‘‘I encourage the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts in public education, enlightenment and engagement with citizens.
‘‘I also urge our development partners, civil society organizations, and the media to continue to support our efforts to strengthen ethical values and integrity in Nigeria,’’ he said.
On asset recovery, the President reaffirmed that his administration will continue to support anti-corruption agencies to recover all ill-gotten wealth and prosecute offenders, adding that all fully recovered physical assets will be sold and the proceeds remitted to the treasury.
A highpoint of the event was President Buhari’s presentation of Integrity Award to Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Abubakar and Mrs Josephine Ugwu of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Abubakar, rejected $412,000 (N150 million) per container bribe offered to him by drug traffickers to import 40 containers laden with Tramadol.
Ugwu, a former cleaner at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos had on different occasions returned millions of naira found in the course of her duty, including the sum of $12 million forgotten in the toilet by an airport user.
In the course of his speech at the Summit, Buhari had stressed the need for Nigerians to uphold the traditionally cherished values of honesty and integrity.
Meanwhile, the President met the security chiefs behind closed doors and was briefed about the developments in the nation’s security situation.
The meeting was the first since he returned to the country after a two-week private visit to London, United Kingdom, last Saturday.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, said “The meeting reviewed the security situation all over the country and we realize that its stable, banditry has been reduced to the nearest minimum, kidnapping has been reduced significantly.”
According to him, “The epicenter of this kidnapping as you know in the north western part of the country – Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, they are all very calm now.
The insurgency in the northeast on daily basis they are being degraded and many of the insurgents are surrendering to the authority, they are giving up their arms and for that reason we have been encouraged to sustain the tempo.”
Asked to assess the performance of his men at the just concluded governorship election in both Bayelsa and Kogi states, Adamu said he anticipated violence at the polls but got prepared enough to prevent it.
According to him, Police helicopter was deployed to scare away miscreants who were planning to snatch ballot boxes from the polling units.
He said “There was police helicopter that was hovering, it was on patrol and in the course of patrol you will see some incidence of maybe people fighting, people trying to snatch ballot boxes. “