FG: Defectors Won’t Escape Prosecution

    5

    Says Adeosun’s alleged certificate scandal still under investigation

    Ugo Aliogo with agency report

    The federal government has stated that the gale of defections in the country’s party politics would not shield any corrupt politician from investigation and prosecution.

    The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance when he paid an official visit to the Abuja office of The Authority Newspaper.

    Mohammed has also explained that the allegation of certificate forgery against the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun is still under investigation by the appropriate agencies.

    Fielding questions from the members of the editorial board of the paper, the minister said the defection, even to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would not immune politicians who had looted the country’s economy from being prosecuted.

    “Nigerians should be rest assured that the fact that some persons are moving from one party to another does not mean that they will escape prosecution,” he said.

    “Nobody will escape investigation and prosecution on the ground that he or she has moved to APC. We have shown that with a former governor and a member of our party that was convicted. We will never terminate anybody’s prosecution on the ground of decamping.

    “However, it is not for the executive to do the work of the judiciary,” he explained

    The minister, however, said many of the defections being witnessed were not premised on the allegation of escaping justice.

    He said some defected for “political calculation and personal reasons.’’

    He also took a swipe at the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, saying: “I have never seen in history, where a leader of parliament will announce the defection of 15 members from his party.

    “The proper thing is, if you are loyal to your party, you put stumbling blocks on such defection,” he added.

    Mohammed said Kwara, his state and that of Saraki which is the epicentre of the defection, remained solidly behind the APC and Buhari.

    Mohammed also said President Buhari’s integrity remains intact, in spite of the allegation of certificate forgery against Adeosun.

    Responding to a question from the editorial management of the paper on why Buhari was still keeping the minister in his cabinet, Mohammed said the case was still under investigation.

    He said the appropriate agencies were still investigating the allegation against the finance minister and should be allowed to do their jobs.

    Adeosun was alleged to have forged a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.

    “Until when an allegation is proven, you do not expect the president to act.

    “The appropriate agencies have spoken and they say they are investigating. The only thing we can do is to wait.

    “By saying that the minister should resign or be sacked while investigation is still ongoing may also not be feasible in our clime because of the level of false accusations.

    “How many times have they accused me of embezzlement? Even recently, they said my driver jumped out of the car, abandoned me and decamped to PDP.

    “People even made the allegation that President Buhari did not have certificate.’’

    The minister insisted that the president would be usurping the powers of the investigating agencies if he sacked Adeosun before their reports.

    Mohammed gave an assurance that the government would not sweep the matter under the carpet.

    The minister also responded to the report in some quarters that the government would share to the poor the Abacha loot repatriated by the Swiss Government, describing the insinuation as mischievous.

    “When the first tranche of Abacha loot was paid under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Swiss Government found out that the money was re-looted by those in the administration.

    “So, when they wanted to release the next tranche, they put the condition that it must be used for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

    “We said there is no problem. It is the money we are using to finance our social investment programmes comprising four components.’’

    Mohammed according to Premium Times, further said 8.5 million pupils in government schools across the country were currently being fed under the Home Grown Feeding Programme.

    Similarly, he said that over 400,000 families were being paid stipends of N5,000 every month under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

    “The beauty of this programme is that it is being done in collaboration with the World Bank.

    “It is the World Bank and various agencies that determine the beneficiaries and who are the most vulnerable Nigerians.’’

    Mohammed, according to Premium Times, said part of the money was being used to finance the employment of young graduates through the N-POWER programme.

    He said no fewer than 200,000 people had been employed in the first batch and another 200,000 would be resuming very soon.

    “The fourth is the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme whereby, market women, craft people and others are given loan between N50,000 and N100,000

    “So, when we say this money is being used for the poor people, it is not as if we are sharing it to poor people in the states,’’ he said.

    Mohammed said the Buhari administration would remain accountable and committed to the welfare of the common people.