'Nigerians are very forgetful', Buhari slams citizens, says they value corrupt politicians

Buhari says democracy has provided an excuse for corrupt persons to still find relevance within political settings.

President Muhammadu Buhari. [Twitter/@MBuhari]

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians are very forgetful because they value and re-elect politicians that have been accused of corrupt practices.

Buhari said this on Friday, June 11, 2021, in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

Responding to a question on the challenges facing his administration in fighting corruption and trying corrupt politicians, the president said, democracy has provided an excuse for corrupt persons to still find relevance within political settings.

He said, “When I was a bit younger, in uniform, when I came, I arrested president, vice-president, governors, ministers, commissioners, and put them under restriction or detention, and told them they are guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. Now, this is opposite — democratic system, as people would like to believe.

“We put investigation panels, virtually based on the present geopolitical zones. For those who held positions and because it was a law for people to declare their assets when they become governors or ministers or commissioners or head of security agencies, they were investigated. Those that cannot explain the extra resources they have in terms of assets and in the banks were asked to surrender. Eventually, I was arrested and detained, and they were given back their loot. So, this is Nigeria.”

The President further said Nigerians are very forgetful in that, a lot of those who misappropriated funds are politically relevant in their communities despite the corruption allegations against them.

He said, “Nigerians, I think, are very forgetful. I’m very pleased that the majority of Nigerians think that this administration, under the circumstances, are doing their best. But people who misappropriated funds, a lot of them were elected members whether at the state or federal level. And their base still values them.

“You can accuse them or even try to prove that when they were elected or in ministries, that they had only one house, but now they have several in Abuja or Lagos. Really, if you try to work out their legitimate salaries, vis-à-vis their expenditure, you will be embarrassed.”

Buhari maintained that there was the need for the establishment of specialised courts in the country to hasten the trial of corrupt politicians.

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