The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday observed that those who made an ATM out of the nation’s commonwealth are now parading themselves as rescuers of the country.
He therefore challenged the civil society to work with the media and other stakeholders in ensuring that Nigerians never forget, for one moment, the damage done to the country by treasury looters.
The Minister threw the challenge at the launch of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, ACSR, which includes civil society organizations, media groups, government agencies and other stakeholders, in Abuja.
”Those who turned our treasury to their piggy bank are once again presenting themselves as the saviours of the nation. They say the best time for Nigeria was when the proceeds of their corruption subsidized many and gave the illusion of economic boom. They are so emboldened as to say Nigerians are earnestly yearning for them. No contrition. No apologies. No shame. Just sheer bravado. Unbridled arrogance. Revisionism.
”The Civil Society, the media and indeed all stakeholders owe it a duty not to allow Nigerians to forget, to say ‘Never Again’ to those who view Nigeria as nothing but a cash cow to be milked to death,” he said.
Reeling out what corruption has caused Nigeria, the Minister listed the conversion to a slush fund of the $2.1billion meant to buy weapons for the Nigerian military to fight Boko Haram; the fact that the country could only generate 2,690 megawatts as at May 29, 2015 despite spending billions of dollars on power and the failure of past
governments to save for the rainy day, even when oil was selling above $100 a barrel for many years.
He listed some of the gains of the anti-corruption fight as raising the country’s foreign reserves from $23 billion to $38 billion; stoppage of the payment of phantom subsidy of between 800 billion and N1.3 trillion; and the recovery of at least $43 million and 56 houses from an official of the immediate past administration.
Mohammed identified other gains of the fight against corruption include the recovery of $2.9 billion from looters so far; the Whistle-blower policy which has led to the recovery of $151 million and N8 billion in looted funds from just three sources; the elimination of thousands of ghost workers, which has saved the country N120 billion and the elimination of the N108 billion in maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA.