LAI Mohammed, minister of information and culture, on Tuesday, May 10, assured Nigerians that none of the recovered looted funds would be allowed to be looted again. The minister gave the assurance in Kaduna at the second Town Hall meeting to mark the one year anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said that the federal government was committed to ending corruption in line with its campaign promise and would be meticulous in driving the campaign. Mohammed said so far, the government’s war on corruption had helped to sensitise Nigerians on the devastating impact of corruption on their livelihood. “Today, Nigerians are less tolerant of corruption and corrupt people than before.
“This is because we have raised the bar in the fight against this cankerworm. We have also brought to the attention of Nigerians the cost of corruption. Thanks to the sensitization campaign we launched earlier this year, Nigerians now know the cost of corruption, instead of just talking about it in the abstract. In other words, it is not just that money is stolen, but such action also deprive the people of the benefits that would have accrued to them if the funds have been spent for the purposes they were meant for.
“For example, those who shared in the 2.1 billion dollars meant for arms didn’t just take the money meant for the purchase of arms and ammunition for the military, they also contributed to sending many innocent soldiers and civilians to their early graves. Let me state here that the revelations from the 2.1 billion dollars are just a tip of the iceberg, because the total funds involved in the arms purchase is 15 billion dollars!
“Now, those who pocketed the money meant for upgrading the power infrastructure also succeeded in putting Nigerians in darkness. Of course the government is also diligently prosecuting those alleged to have looted our commonwealth. With the support of the judiciary, these cases will be disposed of expeditiously,” he said.
The minister also spoke of efforts at ending the Boko Haram insurgency, stating that the focus now was on the resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of victims and areas affected. On the economy, Mohammed said the government was working to address the challenges. “We have lost a substantial part of our earnings to the massive crash in the price of oil.
“Think about this: If you lose 70 percent of your monthly salary, your life can never be the same again. At its worst level, oil crashed from over 100 dollars to about 30 dollars a barrel. It has recently inched up to over 40 dollars per barrel, but that is still very low, compared to a high of over 100 dollars per barrel. For a mono-product economy, this shortfall is nothing short of disaster, but the administration has decided to turn this disaster to a blessing by working assiduously to diversify our economy away from oil.
“Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Culture and Tourism are some of the sectors we are currently working to rejuvenate so they can earn huge revenues for the country and create jobs. While these efforts are on, the Administration has decided to plug all financial leakages through the Treasury Singles Account (TSA), into which trillions have accrued so far.”
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that among the ministers at the forum were those of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, and the minister of state for budget, Zainab Abubakar. – Vanguard
— May 10, 2016 @ 17:10 GMT