By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—Federal Government said, yesterday, that no amount of defection from opposition parties to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, will shield any corrupt politician from investigation and prosecution by anti-graft agencies.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known when he paid an official visit to the corporate headquarters of The Authority Newspaper in Abuja.
He said: “Defection, even to the ruling APC would not immune politicians who have looted the nation’s economy from being prosecuted.
“Nigerians should be rest assured that the fact that some persons are moving from one party to another does not mean that they will escape prosecution.
“Nobody will escape investigation and prosecution on the ground that he or she has moved to APC.
“We have shown that with a former governor and a member of our party that was convicted. We will never terminate anybody’s prosecution on the ground of decamping. However, it is not for the executive to do the work of the judiciary.”
The minister who dismissed the allegation that many of the ongoing defections to the ruling APC were not premised on the allegation of escaping justice, said “some defected for “political calculation and personal reasons.”
On alleged certificate forgery against Adeosun
On the certificate scandal against the Finance Minister, Mohammed said: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity remains intact, in spite of the allegation of certificate forgery against his Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
“The case is still under investigation and I know the appropriate agencies are still investigating the allegation against the Finance minister and should be allowed to do their jobs.
“Until when an allegation is proven, you do not expect the President to act. The appropriate agencies have spoken and they say they are investigating. The only thing we can do is to wait.
“By saying that the minister should resign or be sacked while investigation is still ongoing may also not be feasible in our clime because of the level of false accusations.
“How many times have they accused me of embezzlement? Even recently, they said my driver jumped out of the car, abandoned me and decamped to PDP. People even made the allegation that President Buhari did not have certificate.”
How Buhari is spending Abacha loot
On the spending of Abacha’s loots, the minister said: “The money recovered from the late military ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha, is not being shared to the poor and vulnerable as widely believed.
“Rather, the money is being deployed in the financing of Federal Government’s social investment programmes comprising four components.
“When the first tranche of Abacha loot was paid under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Swiss Government found out that the money was re-looted by those in the administration.
“So, when they wanted to release the next tranche, they put the condition that it must be used for the most vulnerable Nigerians.
“We said there is no problem. It is the money we are using to finance our social investment programmes comprising four components.
“About 8.5 million pupils in government schools across the country are currently being fed under the Home Grown Feeding Programme. Again over 400,000 families are being paid stipends of N5,000 every month under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.
“The beauty of this programme is that it is being done in collaboration with the World Bank. It is the World Bank and various agencies that determine the beneficiaries and who are the most vulnerable Nigerians.
“I can confirm to you that part of the money was being used to finance the employment of young graduates through the N-POWER programme.
“In fact, no fewer than 200,000 people had been employed in the first batch and another 200,000 would be resuming very soon.
“The fourth is the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme whereby market women, craft people etc., are given loan between N50,000 and N100,000.
“So, when we say this money is being used for the poor people, it is not as if we are sharing it to poor people in the states.