President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday pledged that the anti-corruption crusade in the country would be deepened and institutionalized to last beyond the life of the current administration.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s Senior Adviser on Media and Publicity, said in a statement that Buhari made the pledge when he received U. S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, at the State House, Abuja.
The president stated that his administration was laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed.
“We will insist on the standards we’re establishing.
“We are laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed. Any breach will no longer be acceptable.
“We will re-train our staff so that they understand the new orientation, and those who foul of these rules will be prosecuted, no matter who is involved.
“But, we will be fair, just and act according to the rule of law.
“Anyone perceived corrupt is innocent till we can prove it. We will work very hard to establish documentation for successful prosecution, and those in positions of trust will sit up,’’ he said.
Buhari appreciated the intervention of the U.S before the 2015 polls, demanding free and fair elections in Nigeria, saying, “America did not do it because of what it stands to benefit from us.
“You did it for the Nigerian people. It tells so much what the U.S stands for in the world”.
On Boko Haram insurgency, he thanked the U.S. for its “hard and soft military help’’.
“The training and intelligence that we could not muster ourselves, we received.
“The training has made Boko Haram less of a threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, while the military hardware has given our troops added confidence,’’ he said.
The president said that though militancy in the Niger Delta had impacted negatively on the economy and affected positive intentions of international and local investors, government had showed restraint to use of real force.
On the economy, he assured that the focus of his administration was on the diversification “having learnt our lessons from years of over dependence on oil’’.
In his remarks, Kerry commended the courage of Buhari in fighting corruption.
“We applaud what you are doing. Corruption creates a ready-made playing field for recruiting extremists.
“You inherited a big problem, and we will support you in any way we can. We will work with you very closely.
“We don’t want to interfere, but will offer opportunities as you require,” Kerry said.
He pledged his government’s determination to assist Nigeria in tackling the humanitarian challenges in the North-East, adding that U.S. would get Britain, France, and others “to augment the support.’’
“Nigeria is priority for us. We won’t miss the opportunity to work together, because you are making significant progress,’’ he said.