Breaking News
Translate

The fight against corruption is Nigeria’s fight – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, wants Nigerians to own the anti-corruption war. Mohammed spoke at the launching of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room in Abuja. Excerpts:

THE fight against corruption is Nigeria’s fight. This means all Nigerians must take possession  of this war if we are to win it. The courageous and patriotic minds behind the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, ACSR, have taken the first critical step to ensure that Nigerians buy into this war.

I want  to thank the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource  Centre) and its partners for coming up with the ACSR.

It is also good to appeal  to more Civil Society  Organizations, CSOs, to join this initiative. Unless there is a collaboration  that involves the government, the media, CSOs and others, this fight will be tougher than it should be. Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of  HEDA Resource Centre, puts it most succinctly when he said, and I  quote: “The central thrust is to build synergy between anti-corruption  CSOs, the labor movement and law enforcement agencies, the Parliament  and the Judiciary as a means of improving and broadening the  anti-corruption agenda as well as creating an accountability loop and  feedback mechanism between anti-corruption agencies, the civil society organizations and the citizens”.

Lai Mohammed

ACSR could not have come  at a better time. The Buhari  administration’s fight against corruption  is gaining momentum, and government is winning the war.

But there  is a challenge: There seems to be a feeling of numbness among the  citizens about the conduct of those whose actions brought us here,  those who looted the national treasury dry. Suddenly, these same  people are engaging in revisionist history and blaming everyone but  themselves for the mess their actions put the country into.

Those who turned our treasury to their piggy bank are once again  presenting themselves as the saviours of the nation. They say the best  time for Nigeria was when the proceeds of their corruption subsidized  many and gave the illusion of economic boom. They are so emboldened as  to say Nigerians are earnestly yearning for them. No contrition. No  apologies. No shame. Just sheer bravado. Unbridled arrogance.  revisionism. The Civil Society, the media and indeed all Nigerians owe  it a duty not to allow Nigerians to forget, to say ‘Never Again’ to  those who view Nigeria as nothing but a cash cow to be milked to  death.

How can we ever forget? The 2.1 billion dollars meant to buy weapons for the Nigerian military to fight Boko Haram was turned into  a slush fund by a few, causing the war to fester and hundreds of  troops to die. How can we ever forget that we spent billions of  dollars on power only to have just 2,690 megawatts, which was what we  inherited when we assumed office 29 May 2015?

Why is it that despite the billions of naira supposedly spent on  roads by successive Administrations, what we inherited are death  traps. Why did we inherit an economy in dire straits? Nigeria sold oil  at over 100 dollars per barrel for years, but the proceeds were either  looted or frittered away.

Yet, this administration has decided to take the bull by the  horns, rather than sit back and lament. That is why we are fighting  corruption headlong. It is the toughest of the three cardinal  programmes of this Administration, but we are determined to win the  fight, and we are winning, even when corruption is fighting back fast  and furious.

Because we  are tackling corruption, we have succeeded in raising power generation  from 2,690 to an all-time high of 7,001MW. Because we are tackling  corruption, we are saving 25 billion Naira monthly by cutting  unnecessary allowances of officials. Because we are tackling  corruption, we have added 500 million dollars to our Sovereign Wealth  Fund that stagnated at the 1-billion-dollar that was used to set it  up. We have raised our foreign reserves from 23 billion dollars to 38  billion dollars. We have stopped the payment of phantom subsidy of  between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion Naira.

We recovered at least 43 million dollars and 56 houses from just  one official of the immediate past Administration. We have recovered  2.9 billion dollars from looters so far. Our Whistle-blower policy has  led to the recovery of  151 million dollars and N8 billion in looted funds from just three  sources. Our sincere and full implementation of the Treasury Singles  Account, or TSA, has yielded 3 trillion Naira, almost half of the  estimated revenue in the 2018 budget.

With the elimination of  thousands of ghost workers, we have saved 120 billion Naira. We have  eliminated the 108 billion Naira in maintenance fees payable to banks,  pre-TSA. We can go on and on, reeling out the successes from our fight  against corruption.

It is noteworthy that we have achieved all these and more  without having all the stakeholders fully on board in the fight  against corruption. Imagine how far we would have gone if all hands  have been on deck.

That is why we are delighted at the launch of the  Anti-Corruption Situation Room, which we believe will definitely  ensure that more and more Nigerians buy into this war. Once Nigerians take possession of the war, there will be no more  hiding place for the corrupt. Those accusing the Administration of  engaging in a selective anti-corruption fight will be exposed for who  they are: apologists for treasury looters!


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.