Mr Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information & Culture
PARIS, JANUARY 27, 2016: (DGW) - Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed has said that the Nigerian government will not be distracted from the ongoing war declared on corruption in the country.
The alarming rate of poverty in the country, the minister said, is as a result of the looted funds which has lined the pockets of the few and the present administration under Mr Muhammadu Buhari will not be cowed nor distracted from recovering every looted fund stashed away in foreign lands, the minister stated.
While speaking in Abuja with Abuja Bureau Chiefs, Mr Lai Mohammed said the Federal Government is out to rescue the country from collapse caused by the prodigal years of the former ruling party, the Peoples' Democratic Party,( PDP)
His words: ‘‘ The pseudo-analysts and hack writers will labour in vain in their quest to stop the train of this anti-corruption fight. When I met with the News and Political Editors in Lagos on Sunday, I said, among other things, that the government is aware that in fighting corruption, corruption will also fight back. I also said that those who stole us dry are powerful. They have newspapers, radio and television stations as well as online platforms, and an army of supporters to continuously deride the government’s war against corruption.
”Well, I can tell you today that corruption is already fighting back, and it is fighting hard and dirty. Sponsored articles have started appearing in the newspapers and in the Social Media, while ‘Talking Heads’ have started making the rounds in the electronic media, all deriding the fight against corruption as well as this Administration.
”Not stopping there, they have been creating distractions by sponsoring articles in both local and international media to deride the administration’s policies generally, tag the President a budding dictator and even write off his 2016 budget. We know that the sole purpose of these attacks is to distract attention from the war on corruption. The cost of corruption is evidenced in the rate poverty in the country. Whereas Nigeria’s national budget has increased from just over 900 billion Naira in 1999 to over 6 trillion Naira in 2016, poverty has also increased almost by the same proportion. The reason is not far-fetched: Appropriated funds have mostly ended up in the pockets of a few looters.
Continuing, he said, ''When the money meant to construct roads are looted, the end result is that the roads are not built and the people suffer and even die in avoidable road accidents. When the money meant to provide electricity is looted, we all are perpetually sentenced to darkness. When the money meant for healthcare is pocketed by a few, we are unable to reduce maternal and infant mortality. These are the costs of corruption. Let us not just talk about corruption in the abstract, let us be counting its cost to our lives, in order to drive home the point that corruption must be tackled decisively for Nigerians to feel the impact of governance''.
Mr Mohammed said what is worthy of note is that the Nigerian government is winning the war and Nigerians are the first time knowing the devastating effect of corruption on their lives.
On the ongoing $2.1 billion arms scam deal, the minister pointed out that a lot of lives were lost resulting from the money shared which was originally meant for arms procurement to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east who have killed so many Nigerian soldiers and civilians including women and children.