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Don’t be afraid, do the right thing, Buhari tells auditors, government officials


President Muhammadu Buhari (right); Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and Country Director, World Bank, Shubham Chaudhuri during the second edition of the conference of auditors-general in Nigeria in Abuja …yesterday.  PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja charged public servants and government officials not to be afraid of audit if they have done the right thing.

He encouraged them to see audit as a means of improving their performance and not as a threat.

The President stated this at the opening of the second edition of Auditors-General Conference in Nigeria, urging auditors to adhere to professional code of conduct guiding their operations, while ensuring timely and quality review of financial performance of public officers.

He also charged Auditors-General to maximise the use of their constitutional powers in the fight against corruption, insisting that ineffective audits contributed to governance problems over the years.

He also urged auditors to embrace accountability and transparency, which he described as the hallmarks of his administration.

His words: “As accountability institutions in the federal, states and local governments and as institutions empowered under the constitution to review the financial performance of public officers even where there has been no petition or allegation, you are uniquely placed to tackle corrupt practices.

“Through your audit findings and recommendations, corrupt practices would be discovered early and loopholes blocked before they are exploited.

“Furthermore, you have the full range of audit tools at your disposal including financial compliance, performance and Information Technology audits.

“There is literally no aspect of government performance or expenditure you cannot examine. What may be missing is the will to properly deploy the powers that you have.

“Be reminded that underperformance by auditors or ineffective audits contribute largely to governance problems. Auditors, therefore, need to decide not to be part of the problem, but the arrow to the solution.”

Commenting on the 2016/2017 Annual Reports of the Auditor-General of the Federation, President Buhari noted that the audit opinion was in line with the reality of corruption, as well as mismanagement and misappropriation in the country.

Commending the Auditor-General of the Federation, he said, “I want to encourage you to continue to do your best. It is important that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are kept on their toes through timely and high-quality audits.”

President Buhari also told participants at the three-day conference that his administration was fully aware of the value that audit and scrutiny bring to the performance of government functions.

He, therefore, assured them that regular and constant monitoring of performance would be prioritised as the Federal Government rolls out its development plan.

“We know that MDAs charged with delivery of activities that impact the lives of Nigerians can all monitor and report their own performance, but the most reliable measure is accurate and independent assessment by external auditors.

“This is one key reason all tiers of government in Nigeria need a strong external audit function,” he added.

He also highlight some achievements in the fight against graft through government anti-corruption agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), among others.

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