By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Government has said that the address presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded United Nations General Assembly was in order as he touched on both local and international issues.
Responding to the allegation that the president’s address was skewed towards the international community at the event, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said Buhari spoke the way he did because he was addressing a world body.
According to him, all those accusing the president of not showcasing Nigeria local issues at the world stage were being misguided.
He said “I think it’s absolutely in order because Nigeria is part of a global community addressing global issues. But he addressed all those issues covering also all the things that affect Nigeria as a country. Mr President came in he outlined three priorities security, governance, anti-corruption and the economy.
“On security, he addressed the security issues, he talked about the Boko Haram and the importance of the international community being engaged in that fight and also taking measures to stop ISIS infiltrating into the sub region; he talked about the humanitarian crisis and thanked the international community on what they have done so far in helping us in that context and also the importance of keeping an eye on that crisis.
“On anti-corruption which is a priority for us he called on the international community to insist and maintain good governance and he himself talked about good governance being a priority for this country and wanted the international community to key into it because we are looking to these countries to help us get the stolen funds back.
“On the economy, he is saying a lot of the conflicts in this world today are as a result of the nature of relationships between countries. You have those that have and those who do not have and we have to start looking for a more equitable society, economic equity, again this is part of what the sustainable development goals has as an objective.
On the issue of how much is stolen from the country, it’s an ongoing thing, we have been discovering all the time because you see the sophistication that there is today in hiding money around the world is amazing. Even western countries themselves have a lot of problems and it takes them a lot of time and they discovered about the Panama papers. Nobody knew about all those funds illegally stashed until you suddenly have the revelations under the Panama papers. So, it’s really an ongoing thing and then new ones coming up all the time. As you saw recently we never knew about the US eavesdropping on some telephone conversations of members of the previous government and private sectors talking about investments that were made in the United States. It just suddenly came out like that. So, it’s an ongoing thing.”
Asked what strategies the government was putting in place to recover stolen loots stashed in foreign land, Onyeama said “He (Buhari) cooperated with David Cameron when he was the Prime Minister of the UK to organise a global conference on anti corruption. You know for a very long period of time, it was not a priority for industrialized countries to worry about money flowing from developing countries into their banks because as far as they are concerned they have their own image of rulers of third world countries. So, the President’s strategy was to put it on the front burner for them to buy into.”