Plans are afoot by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to recover unreturned government property still being utilized by the officials of the immediate past administration.
A committee, comprising civil servants and representations from some security agencies, will be mandated to recover the public assets from the political appointees that served under Mr. Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
Towards entrenching his anti-graft drive, which is one of the focal areas of the administration, Mr. Buhari has also perfected plans to recover looted funds from Europe, particularly Switzerland, and America.
In an OpEd article published in The Washington Post in July, Mr. Buhari Buhari had sought the cooperation of the U.S. government in helping Nigeria recover its stolen wealth.
“The fact that I now seek Obama’s assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade and held in foreign bank accounts on behalf of former, corrupt officials is a testament to how badly Nigeria has been run. This way of conducting our affairs cannot continue,” the president wrote in the piece.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. Buhari’s decision to recover the vehicles, houses and other property from the former government officials was prompted by refusal of some officials of the past administration to honorably surrender public property in their possession.
Sources at the presidency said the affected officials are still in control of government vehicles, buildings, power generator sets and other entitlements that came with their previous positions.
In a recent chat with newsmen in Abuja, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity confirmed that the president is going after those found in possession of public assets.
“That is precisely the case. Even here at the Villa, there are cars and other property belonging to the government which are yet to be returned.
“The property belong to the Nigerian people. We are not trying to humiliate anyone by asking them to return their cars or houses,” he said.
He reiterated President Buhari’s commitment to running an austere government that will save the Nigerian people millions in public funds.
“Imagine how much Nigeria will save by retrieving and re-using these government properties instead of purchasing new ones for new government officials,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said President Buhari’s aim was not to humiliate anyone but to make the affected individuals return public property.