Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari gives an interview during the African Summit in South Africa in June.
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says his assets include $150,000, two mud houses, livestock and an orchard, and a plot of land the exact location of which he has yet to trace.
The asset declaration, which Buhari’s spokesman described as “Spartan,” comes as the President reaches 100 days in office.
“President Buhari had no foreign account, no factory and no enterprises. He also had no registered company and no oil wells,” reads the statement released by the spokesman, Garba Shehu.
Public declarations are seen as crucial in fighting the corruption that plagues Nigeria. They are a means of ensuring that, when the time comes to leave office, government officials will not have used their positions to enrich themselves.
Other assets declared by Buhari — who formerly headed the nation’s petroleum ministry — include five homes in addition to the two mud houses, farms, an orchard and a ranch:
“The total number of his holdings in the farm include 270 heads of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, a variety of birds and a number of economic trees,” the official statement reads.
Buhari’s declared assets — if accurate — would make him quite wealthy by the standards of ordinary Nigerians. But his holdings would be on a small scale against the riches — a total of $28.25 billion — the APC has claimed were “looted” by public officials under the administration of his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan. The APC contends that most of that money was siphoned from Nigeria’s oil industry.
Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly denied the accusations.
Given the fierce exchanges between the rival parties and the nation’s history with official corruption, Nigerians generally accept that transparency may be too much to expect from its leaders.
Jonathan notoriously said “I don’t give a damn” when asked why he would not publicly declare his assets, and most elected officials in Buhari’s own All Progressives Congress party (APC), still have not declared theirs.
Despite Buhari’s declaration, some Nigerians have not been impressed with his first 100 days. At newspaper stands and beer joints around Lagos, you can hear the nickname “Baba Go-Slow” — on account of the perceived slow pace of Buhari’s promised changes.
“Buhari is just making statements and press conferences, which I really don’t understand,” says Emmanuela Mutumi, a makeup artist in Lagos. “He needs to focus on what the people need.”
Buhari, 72, was elected President in March after campaigning on promises to fight corruption and beat the terrorist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. After his election he said he intended to “plug holes” in the “corruption infrastructure” in the country.
Buhari himself was the nation’s commissioner for petroleum resources in the late 1970s.
Many Nigerians still believe in his integrity in the fight against the corruption and Boko Haram, but there are concerns that after three months, no ministers have been named to his Cabinet.
Buhari has argued that he inherited from the previous administration a mess so large that it will take time to fix.
“One hundred days is too small,” says Paul Audifferen, an engineer in Lagos. “You have to give him time. Nigeria will take decades to repair because the corruption has been there for a very long time. So you don’t expect him to just come from out of the blue, snap his fingers and say these are the glorious days.”