President Muhammadu Buhari revealed during an exclusive in-person interview with SaharaTV his feelings about Senate President Bukola Saraki and his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for false declaration of assets. President Buhari, speaking with SaharaTV correspondent Adeola Fayehun, also addressed upcoming prosecutions of corrupt public officials and his ministerial appointees.
President Buhari told SaharaTV that his government is conducting serious investigations into corrupt officials, especially within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as it relates to management of crude oil sales. President Buhari said that he could not give specific details on how much stolen money has been recovered “because we could compromise the legal processes” but that “very soon the process of prosecution will start.”
President Buhari explained that Nigerian officials are collecting documents on the movement and sale of Nigerian crude, and those findings can be used “so that we can successfully prosecute those who have been stealing Nigerian crude.”
SaharaTV asked President Buhari to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings against Senate President Bukola Saraki and their relationship. President Buhari stated that his confidence in Senate President Saraki “will depend on the outcome of the court decision.”. It is the first time the Nigerian president was publicly making his feelings known about the crisis rocking the Senate.
President Buhari added that at the moment he works with Senate President Saraki as the constitution requires and added, “there are people [Ministers] I want to work with. I cannot work with them unless the National Assembly approves, so I have been writing to the Senate President and to the leader of the House—it is in the constitution.”
He then said that his role as President does not include pressuring the judiciary to drop charges against Saraki adding, “I could be successfully impeached if I do it.”
The interview with President Buhari then turned to current events and the controversy involving Nigeria’s Mission to the United Nations disorganization resulting in several missed opportunities and embarrassing moments this weekend during the General Assembly. President Buhari insisted that, about the meeting between international organizations and West African countries dealing with the effects of Boko Haram, “if we are not invited then we cannot be there.”
He emphasized in his remarks “everybody knows that we are very serious about Boko Haram. If we know there is a meeting by the international community about Boko Haram, then we will be there. So we have to be invited.”
SaharaTV pushed to have President Buhari reveal some information about his Ministerial picks, believed to be announced this week, but he declined to say.
“I can’t because it would be illegal until the Senate cleared them I cannot talk to you about them.”
He also said, “I have to discuss it with the Governors from the respective States they are coming from.”