President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday bemoaned the looting of the treasury by past administrations, saying the stealing was too much.
The looters, he said, were so inept that they did not cover their tracks well.
The President spoke in London while receiving the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation led by Mr. Charles Sylvester.
Buhari also met with All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Abuja House in London yesterday. Details of their meeting were not disclosed.
The President said his administration would justify the people’s trust in it, but lamented that it was impossible to “identify and recover all the loot.”
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina said the failure of some past administrations put the country where it is today.
The statement reads: “I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused, we will do our best to justify it.”
“The failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people”.
Wicked people, the President said, plundered the country, “and kept Nigerians poor”. He added that looking at the condition in which his administration met the country, without savings and the economy badly vandalised, “we have not done too badly.”
The damage done to the economy in the years of plunder, he said, was massive, adding that the government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.
The President said: “If they had used 50 per cent of the money we made, when oil prices went as high as $143 per barrel, and stabilised at $100 with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their businesses.
“You could almost grow food on our roads, as they were abandoned. The stealing was so much, and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly. I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country.”
He hailed the group for identifying with the country, “when you could have stayed here, and be comfortable.”
Sylvester said the group was happy with the President’s achievements so far.
He said: “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy General. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy.
“The same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals. We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure.”