Thursday, February 25, 2016 2:19 pm
Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed has lamented that Nigerians have not shown enough anger against corruption as they have not voiced enough concern whenever looted funds are put in public domains.
Muhammed, who paid a visit on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos on Thursday at the State House, Ikeja, in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, emphasized that the Federal Government was more than ever determined to kill corruption, but decried Nigerians nonchalant attitude to demonstrate enough anger against corruption.
Speaking with newsmen after the visit, the minister also said the Pesident Muhammadu Buhari administration was not witch-hunting anybody in the fight against corruption.
“We are not witch-hunting any person. We are not out to vilify any person. What bothers us is that Nigerians are not angry enough. Last Sunday, it was reported that N381 million was recovered from the account of the wife of a former service chief.
“It is surprising that Nigerians have shown no anger about it. In other climes, you will see people talking about it or doing something about it. We must understand that until we kill corruption, we are not going to make any edgeway. The budget was distorted. We, as the Federal Executive Council, did not pad any budget,” he said.
The minister also said the emphasis of the present government was not just to talk about figure of how much had been embezzled as the figures were dizzy enough, saying that only two days ago, the Aide De Camp, ADC, to former President Goodluck Jonathan said when they brought N10 billion for the PDP’s campaign, but “he did not open it. He said he only gave it to the Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs. This is quite troubling.
“But more importantly, our government wants Nigerians to know the cost of corruption. The government wants Nigerians to know what we are suffering. When we had a news conference in January and disclosed that 55 people stole N1.343 trillion between 2006 and 2013, what we wanted to emphasise was what one-third of the money would have done to Nigeria.”
Muhammed explained that using the World Bank rate, “we said the money would be able to redevelop Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It will be able to give us one ultra-modern hospital in each state of the federation. In addition, that money would have given 20,000 units of two-bedroom flat. The remaining will still sponsor 3,954 students from primary schools to tertiary level. In addition, it will build 183 state-of-the-art schools.”
“So, what we are trying to make Nigerians understand is that corruption is eating deep, not just into the fabrics of our morals, but it is preventing development. It is the reason 40% of our children will live up to five years. We lose 40% of our infants before they are five years old. It is because of corruption. It is because of corruption we are in darkness all the time. It is because of corruption we needlessly lose lives to road accidents today,” he added.
Earlier, Ambode had said Lagos was strongly committed to tourism infrastructure in the area of security, Light Up Lagos project, among others.
“When I say that, I’m talking about security; I’m talking about safety; we are talking about the Light Up Lagos Project in which it allows people to move from one point to the other with ease. This actions may seems not to be connected with culture and tourism, but when you put them together in a broader perspective, you see that the ability of one person to move from one point to the other with ease allows for exchange and we are more than ever committed to that.
“We are putting efforts together to allow our investors to come in and put in more hotels here. We just have 22, 000 capacity for hotel rooms in Lagos in a city with about 22m population and also all the tourists that will like to come in. so, obviously there is so much needed to be done in that direction. I want to say that just the same way we have collaborated with the police, we will collaborate with you (FG) and ensure that whatever we can do to create a facelift to the infrastructure of the Federal Government in Lagos, we will do it because it will eventually be to the benefit of Lagosians and eventually aid the economic growth of Lagos,” he said.
On the National Museum at Onikan, Ambode said the state government would go straight with the commissioners to see how “we can put up a modern-day museum of international standard and see how that can work towards our Lagos at 50 Celebration next year. We are not only doing it for Nigeria, but also for the future of our cultural heritage.
“We believe strongly that the axis around Onikan and Marina is actually the melting port of our cultural heritage and we must start to recreate the monument in that area to be able to say a whole lot about the history of Lagos and more importantly, a whole lot about the history of Nigeria and so we would see how we can run as fast as possible on that. In addition to that, like I said, Lagos at 50 is coming up next year and so we are in dire need of monuments and iconic structures.”
Ambode stated that his administration would also be collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Information to see how it could get sculptors, artists and curators to be able to put a whole lot of things together and work with the Lagos at 50 Committee to ensure that “that becomes something iconic on its own and then to the benefits of all Nigerians as well.”