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Nigeria’s woes: There is nothing much anyone can do – Buhari

Former President Muhammadu Buhari has said his successor, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has performed very well since his assumption of office nine months ago. The…

Former President Muhammadu Buhari has said his successor, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has performed very well since his assumption of office nine months ago.

The ex-president said there is nothing much anyone can do given the prevailing circumstances as Nigeria is a complex country to govern.

Buhari said this when he received the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and members of the management team of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Daura, Katsina State, at the weekend.

Tinubu has faced wide criticism over some of his economic policies, including the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of the exchange rate windows.

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These, among other policies, have caused galloping inflation, economic hardship, and naira’s depreciation, which in recent times have led to protests.

Addressing Adeniyi and his team, Buhari said Nigeria is a hard nut to crack, enjoining the citizens to endure the economic hardship in the country and support the policies and programmes of the current administration.

“I thank you very much for coming. I very much appreciate it. I thought Tinubu has done very well,” Buhari said. “Nigeria is so complex. Really, there isn’t much anybody can do.”

Adeniyi, in his reaction, thanked the former president for his unprecedented role in supporting the NCS Act 2023.

The CGC also paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Daura, His Royal Highness, Dr Farouk Umar Farouk.

“This legislative milestone grants the NCS expanded authority to implement policies aimed at bolstering revenue generation and facilitating trade, thus contributing significantly to Nigeria’s economic growth trajectory,” Adeniyi said.

He also spoke about trucks carrying food items seized at the border, saying, “I will also use this occasion to brief you on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s directives that all trucks of food carrying exports across borders that were seized by customs be returned to the traders with the hope that they would plow them back into the Nigerian markets.”

It should be noted that this was not the first time Buhari made a remark about Nigeria being a tough job for leaders to govern.

In November 2023, during an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Buhari said the country was difficult to rule.

“Nigerians are extremely difficult. People know their rights. They think they should be there, not you. So, they monitor virtually your every step. And you have to struggle day and night to ensure you are competent enough,” he said.

Invite him to defend the N30trn Ways and Means – CSOs

Meanwhile, some civil society organisations have asked the Senate to invite ex-president Buhari as it inaugurated an ad hoc committee to probe how the N30 trillion Ways and Means loans of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was obtained and spent by his administration.

The committee is also saddled with the responsibility of investigating the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme under Buhari’s administration.

Daily Trust reports that Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the government’s budget shortfalls.

The inauguration of the committee was sequel to a report of joint committees on banking, insurance and other financial institutions; finance; national planning; agriculture and appropriations after an interaction with the federal government’s economic management team.

Speaking during the event on Monday in Abuja, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said the probe panel is “significant as it is charged with the investigation of the ways and means, including the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.”

In an interview with Daily Trust, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of the  Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said that if the 10th Senate still feels that there are certain information that they are yet to get about that transaction, then they can invite the immediate past President (Buhari) to provide all the information that he has about that evil monetary policy that destroyed the national economy of Nigeria in no small way.

“There is really no big deal in the National Assembly inviting the former president who no longer enjoys the so-called constitutional immunity from criminal prosecution. The senate should also interrogate the former leadership of the Senate, who were the principal characters that convinced the Senate to approve such a horrendous policy,” Onwubiko said.

He also said that the truth in this investigative activity on these specific terms of reference, even the Senate is on trial.

Also, Malam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director,  Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Transparency International-Nigeria (TI-Nigeria) said  that in a serious democracy former President can be invited to clarify and answer questions about his or her role in running the country under his or her leadership, but impunity, political settlement and sentiment will make it difficult for Buhari to physically come for any questioning even if there was concrete evidence against his action or inaction.

Equally, Executive Director Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi,  noted that in a more rational society that upholds the rule of law, it would be appropriate to request the presence of former President Buhari to explain his actions, particularly his management of the N30 trillion ways and means.

“Regrettably, ex-presidents of Nigeria are often shielded from accountability and appear to be immune to legal scrutiny, refusing to participate in any investigations into their governance. The Senate’s establishment of a committee seems to be merely a public relations stunt, as past occurrences suggest that the committee’s findings will never be made public.

“The committee could even be an attempt by the Senate to absolve former President Buhari of any wrongdoing under the guise of an investigation,” Zikirullahi said. 

 

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