Corruption: Jonathan Fires Back At Critics

President Goodluck Jonathan has restated his administration’s commitment to the anti-graft war with a pledge to recover all stolen wealth.

The president might be reacting to misgivings about his approach to the fight against corruption which most perceive as unserious.

Opposition parties and other interest groups as well as individuals have kicked against the state pardon he granted his former boss and erstwhile Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha alongside six other ex-convicts condemning the decision on the ground that it would encourage high profile corruption and fraud in the country.

But the president noted, yesterday, at the opening of the Economist Magazine’s Nigeria Summit, 2013 in Lagos that the ongoing reforms by the federal government, including the anti-corruption war, apart from helping to achieve long term development objectives, would also engender better and more fulfilled life for all Nigerians, as well as improving the international image of the country.

“Corruption and issues of good Governance are also being vigorously tackled on all fronts. Nigeria was one of the first signatories to the Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), and I recently signed the Anti-Money Laundering Act into law.

“The three tiers of government now meet regularly to review and appraise progress and strategy. The recent dismissal of three judges found to have compromised their offices is an unmistakable signal of zero tolerance for corruption in the judiciary”, Jonathan stated.

The successful implementation of the National Transformation Agenda and the principles of good governance, he noted, remained a task that would require the support of all Nigerians and stressed that the creation of a politically stable environment was the bedrock for economic and social progress.

Jonathan used the occasion to remind his traducers that the federal government had been laying solid foundation for international partners to come in and fully support Nigeria’s development efforts through investments and collaboration in different sectors of the economy.

He also said that the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has been able to check the problem of ghost workers in the public service while over N100 billion had been saved in past year alone.

The president lamented, however, that his effort at revamping the country economically had been confronted by major security challenges, and stressed that business and international communities must recognise that security challenges are part of a rising global phenomenon.

Jonathan, however gave the assurance that regardless of origin and linkages, domestic and international, his administration was committed to finding solution to the threat of terrorism even as he pointed out that terrorist groups operating within the country were increasingly linked to other groups operating internationally.

He said that while the first of the three pronged approach to addressing the menace of terrorism in the country was the strengthening of counter-terrorism cooperation with neighbouring countries, the second approach was openness to political dialogue, and maintained that this could only realistically progress when the groups and individuals involved relinquish their anonymity, and come forward in sincerity to make their objectives known to the Nigerian people.

The third approach, the president hinted, focuses on economic inclusion which targets the disadvantaged and unemployed in the society, especially in the North East, with economic opportunities in agriculture, entrepreneurial support,?? graduate employment and unskilled job programmes.

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