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Nigeria’s President Warns Corruption May Threaten Elections

By Tope Alake

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking another four-year term in elections due to take place in six days, said the country’s anti-graft agency has raised concern over laundered money being used to buy votes.

The fight against corruption is being hindered by vested interests and “lawyers table endless objections to obstruct court proceedings, whilst their clients hope it lasts until a ‘friendly’ president is voted into office,” the former dictator said in an emailed statement on Sunday.

Buhari, 76, was voted back into power in 2015 promising to curb corruption. While he has a reputation for honesty, critics say his war on graft is selective and has lost credibility. Nigeria dropped 12 places on Transparency International’s corruption perception index last year. The country’s main opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar, has said that if elected he would consider an amnesty program that allows citizens accused of graft to return funds without being prosecuted.

The government has recovered almost $550 million by removing so-called ghost workers from the public payroll, the president said Sunday. A total of $370 million has been returned since the launch of a whistle blower policy, he said. International partners such as France, the U.K. and the U.S. are expected to return stolen money stashed away overseas in banks.


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