Anti-graft war’ll be ferocious in next 4 years – Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government has said it would be unfair for Nigerians to measure its achievements in the fight against corruption by the number of convictions it has secured.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this, yesterday when he featured on TVC News programme, This Morning, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.
Mohammed said the administration has succeeded in laying enduring foundation for the fight against corruption through sustainable policies; including the Single Treasury Account (TSA), Whistle Blower Policy.
He said with the solid foundation, the fight against corruption would remain the bedrock of the administration in the next four years.
“Under this administration, we insisted and have succeeded in ensuring that all payments and revenues are paid into the TSA.
“Before we came in, the federal government had over 2,000 different accounts in various banks which resulted in paying several billions on naira in charges. The government, then, also never had an idea of how much it had as revenue.
“Today, over N9.3 trillion has gone into the TSA and that is why it is possible for us to invest, especially in the area of infrastructure and social investment programmes,” he said.
The minister added that, with the TSA savings, government spent unprecedented N2.7 trillion on development of infrastructure in 2017 and 2018 and also, introduced accountability in spending of government resources.
He said the Whistle Blower policy has also helped in blocking corruption and recovery of looted funds.
Mohammed disclosed that government has, so far, recovered several billions of naira and about $53 million through the policy alone.
He said the administration’s fight against corruption has been recognised abroad with the African Union recognition of President Muhammadu Buhari as the champion of anti-corruption.
The minister said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has also recognised efforts of the administration in fighting corruption.
“When we say the fight against corruption is successful, it is because we have laid the foundation that would make it difficult for people to engage in the evil act.
“For us, success of the fight against corruption is the fact that we have driven corruption under the table and made it unattractive as it was before.
“Those who are corrupt are doing so with the fear of the law. It will be progressive, become more and more difficult in Nigeria for corruption to be attractive,” he said
On the allegation that the government’s anti corruption fight was against perceived enemies and opposition, the minister said it was a misconception.
“We had 16 years of unbroken rule by the People’s Democratic Party, so, the likely people who would be accused of misuse of resources should be the people who were in charge. We also have some former governors who decamped to APC who have also been convicted,” he said.
The minister reiterated that the anti corruption fight would be frontal in the next four years of president Buhari’s administration.
The minister also reiterated its position that it has “largely depreciated the efficiency and efficacy of Boko Haram.
“Pre-2015, the Boko Haram terrorists walked freely into any city in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory. They chose where and when to make havoc. The United Nations headquarters, the Police headquarters were not spared
“In 2013 to 2014, Boko Haram was active in, at least, 10 states of the Federation; where they struck at will. They occupied 17 local governments in Borno State alone, four in Adamawa and two in Yobe.
“People have easily forgotten that prior to 2015, roads to the North East were blocked, schools were closed, banks folded up, telecommunication companies folded up in the North East.”