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The govt wants Nigerians to know what we are suffering — Lai Mohammed

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By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo

LAGOS—THE Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s anti-graft crusade was not to witch hunt anybody but to expose Nigerians to cost of corruption.

This came as Lagos State governor, Mr, Akinwunmi Ambode, expressed his administration’s readiness to collaborate with the Federal Government to improve all its infrastructure in Lagos, particularly, in the area of culture and tourism.

Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism, Lai Mohammed and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State during the visit by the minister on Thursday, February 25, 2016.
Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism, Lai Mohammed and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State during the minister’s visit on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

The duo made the remarks at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, yesterday when the former paid the governor a courtesy call.

The minister, while fielding questions from State House correspondents on the issues of corruption, lamented that Nigerians had not shown much anger against the revelation from the anti-corruption agencies so far.

His words: “The emphasis of our government is not just to talk about figure of how much has been embezzled.
‘’Even the figures are dizzy enough. Only two days ago, ADC to former President Goodluck Jonathan said when they brought N10 billion for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign, he did not open it. He said he only gave it to the Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs. This is quite troubling.

“But more importantly, our government wants Nigerians to know the cost of corruption. The government wants Nigerians to know what we are suffering. When we had a news conference in January and disclosed that 55 people stole, N1.343 trillion between 2006 and 2013, what we wanted to emphasize was that one-third of the money would have gone to Nigeria.

“Using the World Bank rate, we said the money would be able to redevelop Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It will be able to give us one ultra-modern hospital in each state of the federation. In addition, that money would have given 20,000 units of two-bedroom flat. The remaining will still educate 3,954 students from primary schools to tertiary level. In addition, it will build 183 state-of-the-art schools.

“So, what we are trying to make Nigerians understand is that corruption is eating deep, not just into the fabrics of our morals, but it is preventing development.”

Earlier, while receiving the minister, Ambode said Lagos was more than ready to work with FG in every area, particularly, culture and tourism even as the state prepares to celebrate 50th anniversary next year.

He said: “Just the same way we have collaborated with the police, we will collaborate with you and ensure that whatever we can do to create a facelift to the infrastructure of the Federal Government in Lagos, we will do it because it will eventually be to the benefit of Lagosians and eventually aid the economic growth of Lagos and so talking about the National Museum at Onikan, we will go straight with the commissioners here to see how we can put up a modern-day museum of international standard and see how that can work towards our Lagos@50 Celebration next year.

“We are not only doing it for Nigeria, but also for the future of our cultural heritage. We believe strongly that the axis around Onikan and Marina is actually the melting port of our cultural heritage and we must start to recreate the monument in that area to be able to say a whole lot about the history of Lagos and more importantly, a whole lot about the history of Nigeria.

“In addition to that, like I said, Lagos@50 is coming up next year and so we are in dire need of monuments and iconic structures.

“We would also be collaborating with the Ministry to see how we can get sculptors, artists and curators to be able to put a whole lot of things together and work with our Lagos@50 Committee to ensure that that becomes something iconic on its own and then to the benefits of all Nigerians as well.”

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