President Buhari has said he never heard the word 'Padding' until when he discover such in the 2016 appropriation bill.
Buhari in an interview with Channels Television in the UK, where he took part in the London Anti-Corruption Summit, President Buhari said this on the 2016 budget and the delay that had characterized its processing, he pointed out that if he had not uncovered the padding of the budget, corruption would have crept into the budget, blaming it on technocrats.
“I never heard the word ‘padding’ until this year. I never heard about it. And what does it mean?
“It means that the technocrats just allow the government to make its noise, go and make presentation to the National Assembly so they will remove it and put their own. So, when we uncovered this, we just have to go back to the basics again,” he told Channels Television’s correspondent, Chukwuma Onuekwusi.
On the recovery of the looted funds, Buhari said he will on May 29 speak on the recovered stolen funds from persons that had been indicted in the fight against corruption.
“So far, what has come out, what has been recovered, in whatever currency, from which ministry, department and individuals, I intend on the 29th to speak on this because all that Nigerians are getting to know are from the newspapers, radio and television.
“We want to make a comprehensive report by May 29”, the President said.
On whether the names of the corrupt government officials or those indicted would be published, he said it would eventually be done.
“We want to successfully prosecute them. But you know you can’t go to the court unless you have the documents to do your prosecutions – where some of these people sign for these monies, send it to their personal bank accounts.
“Their banks gave a statement that the money is there when it came how much of it available and so on”.
President Buhari also made comments on security issues, fight against Boko Haram, increasing herdsmen attacks on communities, militancy in the Niger delta and what will happen to those blowing up gas pipelines in the oil-rich region.
He stressed that he had asked the Chief of Naval staff and other Service Chiefs to work together and make sure that those blowing up installations and subverting the investment in Nigeria would be dealt with eventually.
“When I was in the Petroleum Trust Fund, we made a comprehensive study of cattle routes and grazing areas through Nigeria. I am referring the Governors’ Forum and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to it. Let them see what they can do and save the situation.
“There seem to be some credibility to the fact that there are other than Nigerian cattle rearers involved,” he said, linking the development to the crisis in Libya.
“Now this is because of what happened in Libya. When Gaddafi during his 43-year regime, he trained some people from the Sahel… Militarily, he trained them.
“When his regime was overthrown, those people were again dispatched to their countries. They are gone, carrying their weapons and they found themselves even in Boko Haram,” he explained.
President Buhari further said that the increasing herdsmen attacks on communities in Nigeria had become a governmental project, with the government ready to “trace them, disarm them and if necessary try them and discipline them”.
President Buhari had during the London Anti-Corruption Summit requested for the repatriation of funds that had been stolen and taken to the UK by past government officials.