19th January, 2016
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said detailed information about the 55 people who allegedly stole a total of 1.34 trillion Naira between 2006 and 2013 is available for anyone who cares to seek such information.
The Minister, who made the clarification during a visit to the Leadership Hausa newspaper in Abuja on Tuesday as part of his efforts to solicit the support of the media for the fight against corruption, said checks at the courts and the anti-corruption agencies would reveal the details of the cases, the names of those involved and the amount.
“A lot of people have challenged me, what is the source of your figures? I tell them they are just not resourceful enough because these figures are already in the public domain. All it takes for anybody that wants to check is to go and see who are those that are being charged by the EFCC at various courts between 2006 and 2013, you will get their names and the funds against their names.
”The figures we have are the figures we have put together based on our own research, and they are all available in the public domain,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said that in a normal clime, the huge amount of funds frittered away by a few individuals could have elicited public outrage, but that unfortunately, such revelations were reduced to politicking in Nigeria.
He said the consequences of corruption have manifested in the dearth of infrastructure, poor social service delivery, as well as inequality and poverty, which permeated the various strata of society.
The Minister also expressed his disagreement with the people calling on the President to soft-pedal in the fight against corruption by pardoning those who embezzled public funds in the past, saying proffering such advice amounts to corruption fighting back.
The Minister explained that the fight against corruption was not an afterthought but was indeed one of the pillars upon which the President rode to power through the popular mandate of the people, and promised that the war would be waged within the ambit of the law.
Alhaji Mohamed therefore urged the indigenous language newspapers to cooperate with the federal government in its National Sensitization Campaign Against Corruption, while also thanking them for their commitment to bridging the communication gap by keeping those who could not understand the English Language well informed.
The Editor of the Leadership Hausa Newspaper, Al-amin Ciroma, thanked the Minister for the visit and said the antecedent of the newspaper made it a natural ally in the fight against corruption.