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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said his administration is going strongly after financiers of criminal elements and those who supply arms to them.

The President stated this on Friday while receiving members of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by Co-Chairmen, Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle, at the State House.


He told the religious leaders that the government was already going after financiers of criminal elements but was constrained by the strike by judiciary workers. He noted that now that the strike has been called off, the prosecution will commence. 

A statement by Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina quoted him as saying, “Fortunately, this strike has been called off and prosecution of some of these people would soon commence, while our security agencies expand their network in closing in on the others.

”The administration remains committed to quickly pushing this dark side of our history behind us and we are currently making sure that funding would not hamper our efforts.”

He said the last Federal Executive Council meeting approved some funds for the security agencies, which would be put to judicious use.

“As I mentioned yesterday, in Lagos, we would not relent in our efforts at clearing these criminals from all parts of our land including the forests,’’ he said.

President Buhari said the government had a major role to play in providing security, adding that “besides the imperative to abide by democratic processes is the important aspect of support of the citizenry to the security agencies by providing relevant and timely information.’’

“I must confess that I am more pained than anyone can imagine with the ongoing security challenges because, as you noted during your meeting, they have increased the hunger, pain and anger in the land,’’ he noted.

President Buhari assured that efforts were already ongoing to create a more conducive environment to address both direct and indirect causes of challenges including areas of job creation and employment generation while appreciating religious leaders for their significant roles in national development, particularly in shaping perspectives.

“Your role is critical in putting the correct perspective out to Nigerians,’’ he said.

The President thanked the religious leaders for their patriotism and commitment to ensuring peace and understanding.

“I have listened to you and I am particularly happy that your meeting clearly identified specific and major roles for both the Government and the people of Nigeria. This is what has been lacking for some time in the national discourse on addressing our current security challenges.’’

He also stated that he’s an unapologetic believer in devolving power to the people.

Buhari said the contentious issue of restructuring, true federalism or devolution of powers remains a constitutional matter only the National Assembly can deal with.

 “On the contentious issue of restructuring or true federalism or devolution of powers, as you all know, this is a constitutional matter with which only the National Assembly can deal.

“I remain an unapologetic believer in devolving power to the people and that is why I signed the Executive Order granting autonomy to State Legislature and Judiciary. Unfortunately, this was met with some resistance at the state level and led to more than two months of strike action that has cost the country a lot of pain.

“Luckily the National Assembly has nearly completed the constitutional review process, which I hope would address some of the burning issues agitating the minds of our people.’’

NIREC, led by Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, thanked the President and advised the government to fund the armed forces better to confront the myriad of security challenges facing the country, block sources of illegal arms, publish names of those who fund terrorism and try them.

The body also advised the President to curb unemployment rate and recruit more people into the police force. 

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SaHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK

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