National News Politics

War against corruption is alive, call for Buhari resignation infantile – Lai Mohammed

By Amidu Arije

The Federal Government has reiterated that its fight against corruption and its elements in the country remain strong, alive and that President Muhammadu Buhari is unwavering in his determination to dealt a devastating blow on corruption in the country.

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.

Mohammed said there is no administration that has ever fought corruption with determination, rigour and courage as Buhari administration is doing.

The minister who was speaking against the background of corruption allegations in the NDDC, NSITF and EFFC during a press conference in an attempt at answering the opposition, People Democratic Party (PDP) call for his resignation over the corruption cases.

The minister referred the call by PDP on Buhari to resign as an infantile.

“As you are all aware, Nigerians have recently been inundated with
allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government
agencies, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency,
EFCC.
Many, especially naysayers, have misinterpreted these
developments as a sign that the Administration’s fight against
corruption is waning. In fact, the main opposition PDP has latched on
to the developments to call for the resignation of Mr. President, a
call that is nothing but infantile!,” he said.

Read the full speech below:

TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY HMIC ON CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS IN GOVT AGENCIES

TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND
CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, ON THE ADMINISTRATION’S FIGHT AGAINST
CORRUPTION…IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY JULY 28TH 2020

Good afternoon gentlemen, and welcome to this press conference

  1. As you are all aware, Nigerians have recently been inundated with
    allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government
    agencies, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency,
    EFCC.
  2. Many, especially naysayers, have misinterpreted these
    developments as a sign that the Administration’s fight against
    corruption is waning. In fact, the main opposition PDP has latched on
    to the developments to call for the resignation of Mr. President, a
    call that is nothing but infantile!
  3. Let me state here and now that the fight against corruption, a
    cardinal programme of this Administration, is alive and well.
    President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union’s Anti-Corruption
    Champion, who also has an impeccable reputation globally, remains the
    driver of the fight and no one, not the least the PDP under whose
    watch Nigeria was looted dry, can taint his image or reverse the gains
    of the fight. Anyone who disagrees that the anti-corruption fight is
    alive and well is free to dare us.
  4. What the revelations of the past few weeks, especially the
    investigation of the nation’s anti-corruption Czar, have shown is that
    this Administration is not ready to sweep any allegation of corruption
    under the carpet; that there is no sacred cow in this fight, and that
  • unlike the PDP – we will not cover up for anyone, including the
    members of our party and government, who faces corruption allegations.
    Our fight against corruption is blind to party affiliation, position
    in government and any other consideration. If the nation’s
    anti-corruption Czar can be investigated, then the fight against
    corruption cannot be deemed to be fake, neither can it be said to be
    waning.
  1. I am not prepared to go into the details of the various
    corruption allegations – whether at the NDDC, NSITF, EFCC or any other
    agency – because they are all still under investigation. However, I
    wish to state that the allegations of corruption in NDDC, for example,
    are not new. What is new is the speed and seriousness with which this
    Administration has tackled, and is still tackling, the allegations.
    Had such attention been paid to the running of the NDDC by previous
    Administrations, the Commission would probably have avoided its
    present predicament. Is it not a sad irony, then, that those under
    whose watch the alleged freewheeling spending by the Commission
    started are now the ones accusing those who are cleaning up after them
    of corruption?
  2. As I said earlier, this Administration’s fight against corruption
    is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.
    This Administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including
    high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of 800 billion Naira,
    not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties. This is no mean
    feat.
  3. Remember, gentlemen, that the fight against corruption is not
    about loot recovery or convictions alone. We are also putting in place
    enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.
    Here we are talking about the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the
    Whistleblower Policy, the expansion of the coverage of the Integrated
    Payroll Personnel and Information System as well as the Government
    Integrated Management Information System and the Open Government
    Partnership and Transparency Portal on Financial Transactions, among
    others.
  4. Let me also mention the ICPC’s Constituency and Executive
    Projects Tracking Group, aimed at tracking
    performance of publicly-funded projects, and the Commission’s
    escalation of the use of administrative sanctions in the public
    service by periodically submitting, for sanction, names of public
    servants who are being prosecuted. There is also the review of the
    personnel and capital fund expenditure of MDAs.
  5. Therefore, those who are celebrating the so-called waning of the
    Administration’s anti-corruption fight are engaging in wishful
    thinking, and are not looking at the full ramifications of the fight.
  6. Let me end this press conference by quoting what Mr. President
    said on the fight against corruption in his speech marking the 59th
    independence anniversary of the country: ”This Administration has
    fought against corruption by investigating and prosecuting those
    accused of embezzlement and the misuse of public resources. We have
    empowered teams of prosecutors, assembled detailed databases of
    evidence, traced the proceeds of crimes and accelerated the recovery
    of stolen funds….The policies that we are putting in place today are
    to ensure such criminal and unpatriotic acts do not go without
    consequences.”
  7. Gentlemen, there is no better expression of the Administration’s
    commitment to the anti-corruption fight than this statement, which is
    as true and relevant today as it was in 2019! I thank you for your
    kind attention.
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