By James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
A former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Moshood Adegoke Salvador, at the weekend came hard on the federal government for its plan to build oxygen plants in 38 locations in the country at cost of N6.8 billion.
Salvador, who described the cost of the oxygen plants as “outrageous” compared to similar plants in the United States of America and United Kingdom, said Nigeria cannot afford to be extravagant in the face of the current economic downturn.
He spoke with journalists at the sidelines of a Public Lecture and Patrons’ Luncheon, organised by the Federated Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State Council, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Library, Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
Salvador, who represented Mushin 1 Federal Constituency at the House of Reps between 2003 and 2007, noted that when N6.8bn is divided into 38, a singular oxygen plant would be built in Nigeria at N178.9m, which according to him “is far above that of the USA and UK”.
He said through personal investigation, similar plant in the US would cost N33m, while N27.7m would be required to build one oxygen plant in the UK.
Salvador, however, expressed his worries over what he termed as “cost inflation of projects”, warning the federal government to be prudent and minimise cost.
While noting that corruption has been a major harbinger of insecurity, infrastructure decay in both education and health sectors as well as other key areas of the economy, the former lawmaker said corruption had been “institutionalised” in the country at the detriment of its development and progress.
Speaking earlier on a topic, ‘Whither Nigeria’, Salvador noted that the National Assembly members gave their “powerful support to legalise the act of corruption”, pointing out that they were in the legislature for selfish reasons.
“As soon as President Muhammadu Buhari got the mantle of power because of the no-nonsense man he was known for, all government workers including the public were ready to go by way of integrity.
“All windows of corruption were getting closed. Special type of accounts was introduced for proper revenue collection. Immediately Mr. President’s health deteriorated and was hospitalized for a long time, the technocrats perfected their strategies of embezzlement and corruption waged in, in a big way”.
“Elected members of legislative houses will then give their powerful support to legalise the act as designed. It is sad to know that legislators came to the House for money making and not in the interest of their people. I was once a legislator,” he added.
He submitted that Nigerians are dying due to corrupt practices of the public officials at all levels of government, declaring fighting the menace requires an “iron hand and all seriousness.”
Salvador, however, advocated capital punishment for any public official found guilty of corruption and demanded that there should be no bail condition for corruption charges.
While justifying the claim to corruption has affected all facets of the nation’s life, Salvador explained that the Judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man, was also not exempted from the wind of corruption, saying that Judiciary is making its system too expensive for the common man.
“It is almost impossible for a rich man to go to jail no matter the crime committed, the poor and the young ones are languishing in jail due to their inability to pay bail bond.