Nigerian president declares wealth, showing 'austere' living

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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The wealth declaration of Nigeria's new president shows he has been living "an austere and Spartan lifestyle," with $150,000 in his personal account, contrary to what many might expect of one who has held a number of top government positions, an official said Thursday.

In the declaration, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that he had shares in Berger Paints, Union Bank and Skye Bank, said Garba Shehu, a senior special assistant in charge of media and publicity for the president in a statement. He did not reveal the value of the shares.

Buhari has vowed to stamp out corruption, which is endemic in Africa's biggest economy. Buhari last month put the amount of money missing from state coffers at a staggering $150 billion.

Shehu's statement also did not give values of all the assets held by the president and vice president saying the documents submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau of will be made public as soon vetting is completed.

Buhari has a total of five homes and two mud houses in Daura (Katsina state), Shehu said. In addition to the homes, he has farms, an orchard and a ranch with 270 heads of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses and a variety of birds, he said.

President Buhari also has two undeveloped plots of land, one in Kano state and the other in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state, Shehu said.

The statement was vague on the number of cars the president owns, saying two were bought from his savings, others supplied to him by the federal government in his capacity as former head of state and the rest donated to him by well-wishers after his jeep was damaged in bomb attack by Islamic extremists on his convoy in July 2014.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo's asset declaration shows he has $900,000 in bank accounts, a four-bedroom residence, a three-bedroom flat, a two-bedroom flat and a two-bedroom mortgaged property in Bedford, England, the statement said, adding that the vice president also has shareholding in six private companies based in Lagos and three cars.

Analysts praised the move by the officials to declare their wealth.

"The declaration represents a step in the right direction as per international standards and best practices," said Sylvester Atere, of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Nigeria. "Hence, it helps to build confidence and public trust."

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who lost to Buhari in the March 28 polls, declined to declare his wealth as president though he had done so as vice president during the regime of the late Umaru Yar'Adua —the first leader to declare his assets when taking office.


Associated Press writer Caelainn Hogan contributed to this report from Lagos, Nigeria.

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