By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday stated that the federal government whistle-blower’s policy has raked in N13.8 billion from tax evaders.
Mohammed told journalists at his country home of Oro in Irepodun Local Government Area (LGA) of Kwara State as part of his Sallah message to Nigerians that “other massive dividends of the policy include N7.8 billion, $378 million and 27,800 pounds recoveries from public officials.”
According to him, “The fight against corruption has been unrelenting, without fear or favour because the administration has driven corruption under the table.
“Nigerians no longer celebrate corrupt politicians. Looters no longer sleep at night, as the long arm of the law is closing in on them.
“This administration has embarked on institutional reforms to curb corruption. The diligent implementation of the Treasury Singles Account (TSA) has plugged the loopholes being exploited to steal public funds.”
Mohammed urged Nigerians to be vigilant and not to yield the space to naysayers.
“The gains of the past three years plus must be preserved. Nigeria must continue on its present trajectory to sustainable growth and development. Never again must we go back to Egypt.
“2019 is the year of decision for Nigeria. It is the year that the critical decision will be made as to whether Nigeria will continue along the path of development in all ramifications-social, economic and political-that this administration has embarked upon since 2015, or the country will retrogress and backslide to the throes of massive and primitive looting and lack of development,” the minister said.
He stressed that “as we approach this critical aspect, I have no iota of doubt that the good people of Nigeria will choose the path of development, having seen the commitment, sincerity and patriotism of this administration. It is clear from all indications that Nigerians are not going back to Egypt. Because of the support of the people, our party will win, even with a wider margin, in 2019, thus sealing the fate of the naysayers.
“The fear of this impending victory explains why they have been running from pillar to post desperate to thwart the victory of the APC in 2019. They labour in vain!”
Reeling out the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the minister said: “Never in the history of our country has any administration embarked on such a massive infrastructural development as this administration.
“ The whole country is one huge construction site. Roads are being constructed in all the six geo-political zones. As you all know, I have been touring the various infrastructural projects of the federal government across the country with the media.
“So far, we have inspected about 10 projects, including the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project; the Lagos-Ibadan expressway; the Oyo-Ogbomoso road; the Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt roads; the second Niger Bridge; the Abuja light rail project and the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bida road.This administration had built over 700kilometres of roads and rehabilitated about 650km.”
He stated further that “in the area of agriculture, it has been a huge revolution. Let’s take one of our national staples, such as rice, as an example. When we came in, there were five million rice farmers. Today, we have in excess of 11 million rice farmers. Our rice import has been cut by over 80 per cent. These didn’t happen by accident. It was a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme. There are more millionaire farmers today than at any other time in the history of our country. Today, Nigeria is closer to achieving self-sufficiency in rice production than at any other time in the history of our country.
“This administration has employed 500,000 graduates under its Social Intervention Programme (SIP). No government in our country’s history has ever done that. This administration has been feeding 8.5 million school children in 23 states daily. That has never been done before in Nigeria.
“The Buhari administration has been providng N10,000 every two months to over 300,000 families as social security for the most vulnerable. This has never been done before in Nigeria. Also, this administration, realising that SMEs are the biggest employers of labour, has been growing such enterprises at an astronomical rate through its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. This is unprecedented.
“In the area of power, this administration has taken power generation to 7,000MW. This is also unprecedented in Nigeria. Distribution is at 5,000MW. This has never been achieved before. Model houses are being built across the country as a prelude to a massive housing scheme.”