President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, dismissed insinuations of his plans to defer the formation of a cabinet, as he insisted that his ministerial nominees would be unveiled this month.
Speaking in Aburi, Ghana, the President also reassured Nigerians and the international community that the Boko Haram insurgency was being brought to its knees with the confinement of the insurgents to Sambisa Forest.
The President spoke at a joint press conference with his host, President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, who also disclosed that both countries had worked out strategies to jointly stem corruption.
Responding to a question on his delayed formation of a federal cabinet, Buhari said: “After I was sworn in, I said I will have my cabinet in September. I expect that Nigerians should ask me questions after September 30 if I do not do so.”
The delay in the appointment of ministers had raised dust across Nigeria. Buhari’s 100 days after inauguration is the longest period since the advent of the Fourth Republic that a President has operated without a cabinet.
In the interim, the President has been receiving briefings on the state of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
Answering a question on the security situation in the country, the President said that the Nigerian military, in close collaboration with the Multi-National Joint Task Force, has recorded remarkable progress in the fight against Boko Haram since he assumed office.
“The first thing I did after I came into office was to reorganize the military and clear orders were given to them in terms of retraining, re-equipping and redeployment of troops.
“In the North-East, the military is gaining ground and Boko Haram has been limited to the Sambisa forest.
“Internally Displaced Persons are gradually moving back home and they are being reintegrated into their respective communities,” President Buhari said.
The President also told newsmen that the declaration of assets as he did was a constitutional requirement for all public office holders in Nigeria. According to him, he has declared his assets four times since his first time as a military governor in 1975.
“I recall that in 1975 when late Murtala Muhammed became the Head of State, we were lined up — governors, ministers, and members of the Supreme Military Council. Officials of the Ministry of Justice were brought and every individual was made to declare his assets.
“All Heads of State, governors, ministers, permanent secretaries have to declare their assets because it is a constitutional requirement.
“I have declared my assets four times. When I was governor in 1975, I declared. After being Minister of Petroleum and as a member of Supreme Military Council, I declared. When I was Head of State and now as a President, I have also declared.”
Earlier, President Mahama said both leaders had fruitful discussions on how to enhance bilateral relations and improve regional security.
He also said that Nigeria and Ghana will soon begin the process of reviving their joint commission for cooperation.
The Ghanaian President added that both leaders also agreed to encourage closer cooperation between the intelligence and anti-graft agencies of both countries.
He thanked President Buhari for his visit and assured him of Ghana’s support and cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.