President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja signed Executive Order No.6 to further strengthen the mechanisms of the current anti-graft war and compel institutions on curtailing and restricting illicit activities nationwide.

The President charged institutions, agencies and individuals to own the fight against corruption to reverse the negative culture of pilfering public funds, or risk plunging the country into turmoil.

President Buhari said: “Like I have said many times, if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will sooner or later kill Nigeria,’’

“It has thus become necessary to re-kit and re-tool our arsenal to be able to effectively tackle corruption’s perilous counter-attack against the Nigerian State. Accordingly, the Federal Government of Nigeria has declared a national emergency to deal with that crisis.

“In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria in line with its anti-corruption strategy seeks to ensure that justice is not defeated or compromised by persons involved in a case or complaint of corruption,’’ he added.

According to him, the viability and continuous well-being of the nation faced enormous threat from corruption.

He clarified further: “Whilst there are many reasons why Nigeria has been struggling; regrettably, the most unfortunate cause of great disparity between Nigeria’s wealth and its poverty is endemic corruption.’’

“It is in consequence of this that I have decided to issue the Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 to inter alia restrict dealings in suspicious assets subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes.

“Or for acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism, kidnapping, sponsorship of ethnic or religious violence, economic sabotage and cases of economic and financial crimes, including acts contributing to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and against the overall interest of justice and the welfare of the Nigerian State”, President Buhari added.

The President said that the real battle against corruption would be heightened by the strengthening of policies and institutions, adding that the administration has achieved some milestones with multi-sectoral reforms on anti-corruption including the enforcement of Treasury Single Account (TSA), strict implementation of the Bank Verification Number Policy and Signing of the Open Government Partnership.

He explained further: “There is also a very strong link between corruption, peace and security. Unfortunately, corruption is everywhere; at all levels of government, and every stratum of our society. Without doubt, corruption constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria.

“From available records, the aggregate value of funds involved in some on-going prosecution of high profile corruption related cases stands at N595,409,838,452.25k.

“This amount is in excess of the N500 billion approved for Social Investment Programme in the 2018 Budget, which sum would be applied to cater for home grown school feeding programme, government economic empowerment programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, Conditional Cash Transfers, etc. Cumulatively, scores of millions of Nigerian citizens would benefit from those programmes.

“To further put things in perspective, the highest appropriation in the 2018 Budget in the sum of N344 billion went to the Ministry of Works for construction and rehabilitation of several roads nationwide,’’ the President added.