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Published On: Mon, Sep 18th, 2017

UN: Buhari to press for refund of looted funds

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By Lawrence Olaoye

President Muhammadu Buhari will today press world leaders to facilitate the repatriation of looted Nigerian funds now in different countries of the world.

Convincing the leaders is one of the main thrust of his message during his presentation of Nigeria’s national statement at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

It was gathered that the President is worried that despite strenuous efforts to retrieve monies stashed away in various foreign bank accounts in Europe and America in particular, their governments were reluctant assist his administration in repatriating them.

The president is also said not to be happy that the foreign governments are introducing various technicalities which have caused a slowdown in the effort to recover the monies.

Despite the ongoing anti-corruption war in the country, some governments are said to be demanding for firm guarantees that the monies if retrieved, would not be re-looted by corrupt officials in the country.

The president is therefore expected to highlight his administration’s efforts and successes at rooting out corruption and stressing the need for the world leaders to heed the call to facilitate the repatriation of the money to enable government to deploy them to development needs of the country.

It was learnt that Buhari believed that foreign governments have no reason to continue to retain the looted funds because he had demonstrated his seriousness in tackling endemic corruption since his assumption of office.

The President will also speak to the world leaders on his administration’s effort to meet its flagship objectives of reviving the Nigerian economy and curtailing insecurity.

Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, confirmed that Buhari would address the issues of stolen funds repatriation, economy and security in his Tuesday’s address to the august body.

A statement he released prior to the departure of the president for the United States had given details of the president’s United Nations’ engagements.

He had said that beyond the national statement, Buhari would
join other world leaders at the reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, with whom he would later hold a bilateral meeting.

Buhari will also hold a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders.

The statement had informed that during the General Assembly, Nigeria would participate in high level meetings on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a High Level Event organized by the African Union under its Theme of the Year: ‘Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,’ among others.

At the events, Buhari and members of his delegation will strive to project Nigeria as a strong moral force and responsible member of the international community.

The statement said Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development would also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption.

Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of terrorist acts and recent flooding, and mitigating the effects of Climate Change the statement had said.

The Nigerian delegation will also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari Administration’s efforts towards combatting illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.

The theme for this year’s Debate is: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.”

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