How Buhari can recover stolen billions – UK Ambassador

How Buhari can recover stolen billions – UK Ambassador

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to fight corruption, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Andrew Pocock has said the President should break up the entire system and pick areas of interest, one after the other to recover stolen funds from the Federal Government coffer.

General Buhari
General Buhari

Pocock said rather than addressing corruption as a whole, the President could look into the military’s budget in terms of procurement or monies diverted from the Federation Account.

The Ambassador, speaking during a live programme on ChannelsTv disclosed that the Nigerian Military, for instance have annual budgetary allocation of about $5 billion, which according to him is sufficient to equip the military.

Buhari on Tuesday vowed to recover stolen billions from the nation’s treasury during his meeting with the 36 state governors.

The state goernors have been experiencing cash crises following their inability to pay workers’ arrears in their respective states.

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Pocock said; “Part of the issue is to trace and return stolen monies but that is only a tip of the iceberg. The real question is to break up the system routines, organisations and individuals that contribute to the leeching of Nigerian public money overseas. More important is to assault the mentality of seeing public money as a free gold.”

The envoy who stated that he was not in any way giving advice to the President disclosed that Buhari might succeed if he fights corruption across board.

“The way to do it is to pick areas of primary focus and zero in on that. So if you are looking at military reform, it might be to look at procurement. If it is to look at the oil sector, it might be revenue diversion, money that never reaches the federation account never mind oil theft. So to breakup corruption cocoon   into project sizes, you can focus on a particular difficulty,” he said.

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He added that the Swiss government had been reactive in returning some of the stolen monies by former Military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

According to Pocock, the present administration should complement its moves with actions to showcase that impunity is no longer a norm in the country.

Speaking on British intervention on insurgency, the ambassador disclosed his country’s readiness to partner in the fight.

He said the British government was ready to train the Nigerian Army battalion and brigades in Maiduguri.

“What we need more is access. Nigerian army should allow us to talk to the very senior people. Allow us access to the troops; provide us with the tools that are required, communications, and uniforms. The troops are there but not as well equipped as they might have been. That can be rectified. Nigeria has a military budget of 5 billion dollars a year that is more than adequate to provide the basic inputs the troops need.

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“They should be trained to give them confidence that they have good chance of staying alive and winning,” the envoy added.

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