President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said officials of the recent past government abandoned all financial and administrative instructions put in place in parastatals and agencies, thereby throwing the country into financial crisis.
He regretted that the impunity, lack of accountability and financial recklessness in the management of national resources which were the order of the day under the past administration have thrown the country into a situation that is worse than what happened in the Second Republic.
He promised that the days of impunity in the management of national resources are over in the country with his inauguration.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the President as making the submission at a closed-door meeting he had with state governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari also vowed that funds stolen by government officials who abused their offices in the recent past will be recovered and systemic leakages stopped.
While saying that the nation’s problems are great, the President said the next three months might be hard for Nigeria.
“There are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency.
“But all these were thrown to the dogs in the past. Honestly, our problems are great, but we will do our best to surmount them.
“The next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered, and we will do our best,” the President reportedly told the governors.
Buhari also expressed surprise that state governors had been tolerating the atrocities allegedly committed with the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government since 2011.
He then promised to tackle the issue decisively.
The President also declared that the payment of national revenue into any account other than the Federation Account was an abuse of the constitution.
He added that what he heard was going on in many agencies and corporations, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was clearly illegal.
On the refund of monies spent on federal projects by state governments, Adesina said Buhari assured the governors that the Federal Government will pay, but insisted that due process must be followed.
The President also promised special assistance for the three North Eastern states badly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He also said that a comprehensive statement on the economic and financial situation inherited by his administration will be made to the nation within the next four weeks.
“We will try and put the system back into the right position. What happened in the 2nd Republic has apparently happened again, and even worse, but we will restore sanity to the system,” Buhari assured the governors.
It will be recalled that Buhari’s military regime toppled the Second Republic led by former President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983 on allegations of corruption and gross mismanagement.
On an immediate lifeline for states that owe salaries running into many months, the President said that a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will look at the Excess Crude Account and see what can be shared immediately.