•Denies persecuting any person
By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The federal government yesterday expressed disappointment at the public attitude towards the ongoing anti-graft war, lamenting that the people had not been angry enough about the scale of corruption perpetrated under different administrations in the past decades.
Aside, the federal government denied claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been using the anti-graft agencies to witch-hunt its members.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, lamented poor support for Buhari’s anti-corruption war among the masses at Lagos House, Ikeja, after a meeting with the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and other members of the State Executive Council.
At a session with journalists, the minister explained that the emphasis of the Buhari administration “is not just to talk about figure of how much has been embezzled. Even the figures are dizzy enough.”
Mohammed said the federal government was bothered about the public attitude towards the war against corruption, citing the fact that Nigerians “are not angry enough about the scale of corruption.”
The minister cited how the anti-graft agencies recovered N381million from the bank account of the wife of a former service chief, which he said was reported in some national dailies on Sunday.
He also referred to the case of Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, who admitted that he collected N10 billion for the purpose of the PDP campaign and delivered the same to Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs.
Despite all these revelations, Mohammed lamented that it “is surprising that Nigerians have shown no anger about it. This is quite troubling. What borders us is that Nigerians are not angry enough about corruption.”
The minister therefore pointed out that the story “is not the same in other countries. 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 headway.”
He debunked the claims of the PDP that the Buhari administration was hunting public officials who served in the Jonathan administration; neither was it out to vilify any person.
Mohammed explained the emphasis of the federal government, which he said, was designed to make the people know the cost of corruption on public life and national development.
He explained that the federal government “wants Nigerians to know what we are suffering as a result of corruption. 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.”
The minister disclosed that the federal government used the World Bank benchmark “to measure what the money can be used for. 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 take care 3,954 students from primary schools to tertiary level. In addition, it will build 183 state-of-the-art
“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 per cent of our children will live up to five years. We lose 40 percent 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,” the minister said.
At the meeting he had with the minister, Ambode vowed to transform the National Museum in Lagos to a modern-day cultural edifice which would be of international standard and equally pledged to partner the federal government to give facelift to federal infrastructure in the state.
The governor noted that he would collaborate with the federal government “to ensure the speedy completion of the project which he said will enhance the cultural heritage of Nigeria.
He said considering the strategic importance of culture and tourism to the identity of people, there was no better time for Lagos and the federal government to collaborate in driving the essence of culture with the view to improving on the situation on ground and thereby improve on the economy and develop the nation.
He said Onikan, where the museum is located, is a melting port of the cultural heritage of Lagos and Nigeria by extension, hence, serious efforts must be put in place to start to recreate the monument to adequately situate the history of the country.