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Buhari urges Africa Leaders to be relentless in fighting corruption

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged African leaders to fight tirelessly to get rid of corruption, lamenting that the continent has remained at the far end of global development index because of its menace.

The President spoke in his capacity as the African Union Champion on Efforts to Eliminate Corruption on the Continent, at a High-Level side event on ”Food Security Response: Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Securing Asset Returns for Sustainable Development’‘, on the margins of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Providing his perspectives on the effects of corruption on the continent and the way forward at the event, co-hosted by African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development, AUDA-NEPAD, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, President Buhari said he was honored to serve as AU Champion on Anti-corruption since 2018:

”As you are all aware, this will be my last official participation at the United Nations General Assembly as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I remain honored and privileged to be President of Nigeria for two terms and I am grateful to the African Union for making me the Continental Organization’s Champion on efforts to eliminate corruption nationally and continent-wide. Over the years, we came to the painful realization on how deeply embedded corruption has become in our countries and continent, as well as how corrosive it can be. Corruption has dwarfed our growth and tainted our nations and continent. Africa remains at the far end of development index and concerted efforts made in the last few years need to be sustained, deepened by good governance and accountability that are guided by the rule of law’’, he said.

President Buhari, therefore, challenged his colleagues that for the continent to rise to its full potentials, ”we must work tirelessly to get rid of corruption or by fighting it 24/7.”

”Our national resources must not find safe-havens around the world. This fight is a necessity and not a choice to give our citizens a better life through economic prosperity, social peace and security,” he reiterated.

Food security

On food security in Nigeria, the President disclosed that the government had financed 2.5 million smallholder farmers to cultivate about 3.2million hectares of farmland across the country, creating 10 million direct and indirect jobs. 

He also acknowledged programmes initiated by the AU and ECOWAS to address food security, appraising that at the Federal level, the administration is working with state governments through initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, to support local production of rice, maize, cotton, and cassava.

He expressed delight that the implementation of such programmes had resulted in a significant decline in the country’s large food import bill, from 2.2billion dollars in 2014 to 5.9 million dollars at the end of 2018.

The President said rice imports alone dropped from 1 billion dollars a year to 18.5 million dollars.

”Rice, wheat and fertilizer imports were riddled with gross corrupt practices such as over-invoicing and transfer pricing. It is only when these crimes are contained that we can secure the recovery and return of illicitly acquired assets to victim-countries, which will then provide the much-needed resources in the immediate term, to address development requirements,’’ he said.

The President, however, cautioned that the goals could not be achieved if corruption, illicit financial flows, serious and organized crimes were not effectively addressed.

The President recounted that the administration had demonstrated effective utilization of recovered assets with the notable deployment of funds to three major infrastructure projects across the country namely; the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge.


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