President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said as far his administration’s ongoing anti-corruption fight was concerned, the nation’s judiciary remained his major headache.
He said the fight against corruption in Nigeria could only be effectively tackled with the strong support of the judiciary.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke in Addis Ababa at a town hall meeting he held with Nigerians living in Ethiopia.
He said far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remained a key priority for the present administration.
Buhari said his travails in courts during his failed bid for the nation’s Presidency on three occasions, which took him to the Supreme Court three times, were clear indications that the judiciary needed urgent reforms.
The President stated, “On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now.
“If you reflect on what I went through for 12 years, when I wanted to be the President, I attempted three times and on the fourth attempt, through God and the use of technology, it was possible for Nigerians to elect an APC candidate as President.
“In my first attempt in 2003, I ended up at the Supreme Court and for 13 months, I was in court. The second attempt in 2007, I was in court close to 20 months and in 2011, my third attempt, I was also in court for nine months.
“All these cases went up to the Supreme Court until the fourth time in 2015, when God agreed that I would be President of Nigeria.”
The President, however, assured members of the Nigerian community that with the support of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, he would continue to do his best to improve on the nation’s judicial administration system.
On urban development and infrastructure, Buhari explained that the Federal Government had ordered a review of several railway projects signed by the previous administration with the Chinese government.
“The Chinese government was very generous to Nigeria on the projects signed with the previous government because they agreed to pay 85 per cent of the project.
“But the Nigerian government was unable to meet up with its counterpart funding of 15 per cent; so, the Chinese government was unable to make any impact on the project,” he said.
Buhari also said he had directed the ministers of Transportation, Finance as well as Power, Works and Housing to revisit the agreements and explore ways of re-approaching the Chinese government for assistance.
He added that the Chinese government had indicated interest to assist Nigeria on project financing through its Export-Import Bank
Commenting on the proposed N6.077tn 2016 budget, which is currently before the National Assembly, the President said for the first time in Nigeria, the budget would be largely financed from non-oil revenues.
He identified the slump in the international oil market price and oil theft in the Niger Delta as main reasons for projecting more revenues to fund the budget from the non-oil sector.
The President said those of them, who participated in the nation’s 30-month civil war that left millions of Nigerians dead, found the belief of Nigerians, who lived in oil-rich areas that the natural resources belonged to them, very irritating.
“The theft of oil by some Nigerians that happen to live there, who feel that the oil belongs to them and not the country, is an irritating thing for those of us, who participated in the civil war for 30 months in which at least two million Nigerians were killed,” Buhari stressed.
The President also said the proposed budget would focus on increasing efficiency and transparency in government operations and the blocking of leakages from revenue generating agencies.
He added that the recovered assets of the country would also be used to reduce the budget deficit.