Buhari blames foreign firms, elite for depletion of foreign reserves


President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday alleged that some unnamed Nigerian elites connived with some institutions in developed countries to deplete the country’s foreign reserves.

He identified the foreign firms that joined the elite “to perpetuate the fraud” as insurance firms, shipping companies and financial outfits.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while receiving a delegation of the All Progressives Congress from Kebbi State in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari said he disagreed with the astronomical food import bill presented by the Central Bank of Nigeria from the inception of his administration, saying it was later discovered to be “fraudulent practices” by some elite to deplete the foreign reserves.

The President said, “When I was told that the CBN had no savings after the windfall of selling oil for more than $100 per barrel for many years, and the production was 2.1 billion barrel per day, I did not believe them.

“I did not believe them because the majority of Nigerians cannot afford imported food; they rely on what is locally grown.

“It turned out that 50 per cent of the export bills were fraudulent. That is what the Nigerian elite did.

“Unfortunately, we will not know all that happened because the elite worked in collusion with institutions in developed countries, such as insurance firms, shipping companies and other financial outfits, to perpetuate the fraud.”