Ladies and gentlemen,
- I am delighted to welcome you all to this occasion for the formal submission of the Report by the Committee set up to carry out a comprehensive audit of assets and funds recovered by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria from 29th May 2015 to 22ndNovember 2017.
- As a result of gaps identified in the asset recovery process and in order to foster greater accountability and transparency; when I inaugurated the Committee in November 2017, I emphasized the resolve of this administration to pursue a strong anti-corruption policy and to trace and recover stolen assets using all legal and diplomatic resources at our disposal.
I also directed the agencies involved to submit detailed reports of all their recovered assets by March 2017.
- I must say that today’s event which symbolizes the successful completion of the onerous task given to this committee is another milestone in the fight against corruption; a project that is very crucial to our developing democratic governance.
- Corruption constitutes a threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria.
- I have made it clear that this government will not allow the wanton diversion and embezzlement of public funds into private pockets. Thus, we intend to continue taking all necessary measures to deprive looters of public assets of the fruits of their crimes.
- It is in keeping with the Anti-corruption Policy of this Government, and in line with global best practices that this Committee was set-up to review our asset recovery and management practices in order to evolve a proper management, transparency and accountability culture in the management of recovered assets.
- Given our history of impunity, much of Nigeria’s wealth has historically been squandered or stolen; leaving us with inadequate infrastructure for our growing population and economy. Asset Recovery is thus one of the essential tools for fighting corruption and we must therefore take issues of managing such recovered assets very seriously.
- We must utilize proceeds of our recoveries optimally to address our economic and social problems, and loopholes for stealing public funds must be blocked.
- To this end, let me assure Nigerians that the findings and recommendations of the Committee would be carefully examined and given due consideration with a view to implementing the recommendations. Our asset recovery and management system will in future be transparently, effectively and efficiently managed, and we will set-out a fresh template of public accountability in the country.
- However, a key tool that will revolutionize our asset recovery and management architecture is the Proceeds of Crimes Bill which is currently awaiting passage by the National Assembly.
- Once the Bill is passed and assented, many of the challenges facing our asset recovery and management practice will be adequately taken care of as the Bill addresses most of the challenges facing effective asset recovery and management in Nigeria. I therefore encourage the National Assembly to take necessary steps to pass the Bill.
- Let me once again assure Nigerians that this administration shall continue to keep faith with our promise, and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts all her security challenges.
- I thank the Committee members for their dedication in this important service to our nation and in preparing the Report. May I also express my best wishes to all the members in their respective professional endeavours.