The president has made shocking revelations about the state of the economy and how some greedy Nigerians subjected other Nigerians to a state of suffering and pain.
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that some greedy and unscrupolous Nigerians during the last administration duped the country execessively to the extent that they deceived the government, collected foreign exchange which they use to invest in other countries instead of importing the commodities Nigerians need.
He revealed this with some select journalists. Speaking on the state of the economy, unemployment and insecurity, the president revealed shocking details how Nigerians forced other Nigerians to suffer by engaging in evil practices.
“In the North-East, when we came in, Boko Haram occupied 14 local governments and they had hoisted their flags and called the areas their caliphate. But I can assure you that Boko Haram is not holding any local government presently, but they have progressed to using IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and by taking on softer targets — people in mosques, churches, marketplaces, motor parks, killing them in tens, twenties and fifties that you all know about, and killing schoolchildren. So, I think we have made substantial progress in that area. If you know anybody living in Maiduguri or Yobe, he or she will tell that people are going back to their homes; those who moved to Kano, Kaduna or even here in Abuja are now moving back and they are trying to continue with their lives. On the economy, again we were unlucky. We are now a mono-economy and everybody is dependent on oil revenue.
The oil price collapsed and we were exposed. From 1999 to 2014, the average price of Nigerian crude that was sold was $100 per barrel, but when we came in, it plummeted to about $30 per barrel and now it is between $40 and $50 per barrel. At some stage, I got the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to give me a list of the things we have been spending our foreign exchange on and it showed food items such as tomato puree, grains, rice, wheat and even toothpicks. I didn’t believe it and I still don’t believe it because if he said we were building so many factories, buying essential raw materials and spare parts machinery, I would have believed it. But to show me that what we were consuming majorly was just food items? I believe that Nigerians from the eastern part of this country, from the west and north, about 60 per cent of them, eat what they produce because they cannot afford to buy foreign food. So, what was happening was that people who had plenty of naira, they just filled the papers that they were importing food and were given foreign exchange; they invested the money outside in whatever form.
My belief was strengthened when we got into trouble about the import of petroleum products. We conducted a survey and we found out that one-third of what Nigerian marketers claimed to be bringing in, they were not bringing it in. They were just signing the papers and taking the money out. So, people were doing the same thing with food products. But I think subsequently, when we get to the court with some people, you will hear more about it.
“The third one was on corruption, I would speak about that in two days’ time (Sunday) and also on subsequent attempts to prosecute where we have found evidence; about where the monies have gone and the different banks either here or outside the country, we would let you know.
“We know that your party did not support the idea of a national conference when it was held, but one year after, it is like the clamour is rising again, given some of the challenges such as security and the economy, and people say all these issues were addressed by the National Conference report. Would you have a rethink by going back to see what is good in that report?
“No, I don’t want to tell different stories. I advised against the issue of national conference. You would recall that ASUU was on strike then for almost nine months. The teachers in tertiary institutions were on strike for more than a year, yet that government had about N9bn to organise that meeting [National Conference] and some [members] were complaining that they hadn’t even been paid. I never liked the priority of that government on that particular issue, because what it meant is that the discussions on what the National Assembly ought to do was more important than keeping our children in schools. That is why I haven’t even bothered to read it or ask for a briefing on it and I want it to go into the so-called archives.” Buhari said.