PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari addressed the 74th United Nations General Assembly (Unga) yesterday declaring that his government is facing the challenge of corruption head-on and will not shy away from going after international collaborators.
At the UN in New York yesterday, President Buhari was the fifth speaker on the first day of the General Debate during Unga’s 74th session. Presenting a national statement, President Buhari said Nigeria has given notice to international criminal groups with the vigorous prosecution of those behind the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) scam attempting to cheat Nigeria out of billions of dollars.
Under the terms of a contract signed on January 11, 2010 Nigeria entered into an agreement to supply P&ID 400 MMScuFD of wet gas for a period of 20 years. However, Nigerian failed to deliver on its side of the bargain and on August 22, 2012, the British firm filed for arbitration, writing to the federal government on March 20, 2013, accusing it of repudiating the contract it entered into.
P&ID took the matter before an international arbitration panel earlier this year and Nigeria was found culpable and asked to pay a fine of $9.6bn. P&ID can seize Nigerian assets worldwide to cover the costs but the federal government has appealed the decision and a senior civil servant, Grace Taiga has been remanded in prison by a Federal Capital Territory high court over her role in the scandal.
Using the case as an example how seriously Nigeria is taking the corruption matter, President Buhari said there will be no hiding place for those rip[ping Nigeria off. Also in his speech, he held social media outlets responsible for fuelling major crimes such as mass killings and called on major technological companies to be alive to their responsibilities.
President Buhari said: “They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.”
“No threat is more potent than poverty and exclusion. They are the foul source from which common criminality, insurgency, cross-border crimes, human trafficking and its terrible consequences draw their inspiration.”
Describing poverty as one of the greatest challenges facing our world, President Buhari noted that its eradication is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development. while highlighting his administration’s efforts to overcome the challenge. President Buhari also reaffirmed Nigeria’s position on certain issues which impinge on global peace, security, progress, democracy and development.
On the 2019 presidential elections, he said Nigerians backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division. He claimed that the elections were free and fair and met international standards.