By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that corruption and bad governance were responsible for the present economic quagmire in the country.
He however said that “there is great hope that this country will prosper.”
The Vice president spoke while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
He said: “this country has been badly governed. We are dealing for instance with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15B in one sector alone.
“We have not turned attention to the oil and gas sector, where the former CBN Governor alleged that $20B was stolen. We must condemn and stand up against this level of corruption. It is the single most important reason of the current state of the country. We can’t ignore it.”
Osinbajo who observed that there were concerns about why the government was talking about the past also stated that “We have to, that is why we are here.”
The Vice President then called on Christian and religious leaders in the country to condemn corruption “openly”, adding that “we can’t say because they are Christians or Muslims we wont condemn those involved in corruption.”
He said that the “country has been systematically destroyed “explaining that “Our currency depreciated because we don’t have the reserves to back it. At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings.”
Osinbajo stated that the vandalization of pipelines in the Niger Delta has led to the worsening of the situation with the country loosing about 1 million barrels of oil per day for up to 6 months now.
He added that the vandalism has equally cut power supply short since gas pipelines were also destroyed.
“That is the background for the sort of situation we find ourselves,” Prof Osinbajo asserted while expressing renewed hope that “God surely has a plan for this country. We (as a government) are open, honest, transparent and we shall use the resources of this country very well.”
He pointed out that the GDP figures released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBA clearly indicated there was growth in agriculture and solid minerals. According to him “agric and solid minerals have witnessed improvements.”
Speaking on the social investment programmes, Osinbajo assured “that very soon the 500,000 jobs scheme will take off,” alongside other schemes.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Forum, Archbishop Daniel expressed the support of the forum for the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Buhari presidency, while calling for access to lower interest rates.
A statement from Osinbajo’s office also stated that the forum asked the federal government to checkmate the violent herdsmen, create ranches in the states and promote religious harmony.