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Minister Seeks Media Support In Campaign Against Corruption

The Federal Government has solicited the support of the media in sensitising the public on the campaign against corruption.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal on Monday while flagging off the National Sensitisation Campaign against Corruption at a news conference in Abuja.
Mohammed urged the media to replicate the support being given the Federal Government in its ongoing National Security Awareness Campaign to ensure its success.
“ Unless Nigeria kills corruption, the vice is capable of killing Nigeria.
“Thanks to the support we have received from the media, especially on this National Security Sensitisation Campaign, I can now tell you that Nigerians have taken ownership of the war against terrorism.
“They are also giving their undiluted support to our gallant military. I commend the media for heeding our patriotic call to duty at a critical time in the life of our nation.
“We want the media to once again lead the campaign to sensitise Nigerians to take possession of another war – the war against corruption,’’ he said.
The minister stressed the need to change the narrative on corruption, especially what he described as the wrong impression that the war against corruption was being fought only by the Federal Government.
“It is wrong impression that the war against corruption is being fought only by the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) or it is a vendetta against the opposition, and that indeed, it is one-sided.
“Nigerians must be made to know the damage that corruption has done to our nation, our people and our international image.
“ They must know how corruption stifles economic growth, hinders the fight against poverty, leads to decay in infrastructure and reduces educational standards, lowers life expectancy, stunts the fight against maternal and infant mortality.
“ They must also know how it impacts negatively on the general livelihood of the citizens. No one is better placed than you, the media, to lead this charge,’’ he added.
Mohammed said that between 2006 and 2013, only 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34 trillion in Nigeria.
The amount, he said, was more than a quarter of the 2015 national budget.
“Out of the stolen funds, 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84 billion; four former ministers allegedly stole N7 billion; 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over N14 billion.
“Eight people in the banking Industry allegedly stole N524 billion while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653 billion.
“Using World Bank Rates and Costs, one third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road; built 36 ultra modern hospitals, that is one ultra modern hospital per state.
“The funds could have built 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24 million per child; and built 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses.
“Instead of a national outrage, all we hear are these nonsensical statements that the government is fighting only the opposition, or that the government is engaging in vendetta,” he said.
Commenting on the $2.1 billion dollar arms deal, the minister alleged that funds meant to fight terrorism were deployed to keep the then ruling PDP in power.
“So far, based on what we know, no one who has been accused of partaking in the sharing of the funds has denied receiving money.
“All we have heard from them are ludicrous reasons why they partook in sharing of the money.
“One said he collected N4.5 billion for spiritual purposes, another said he received N2.1 billion for publicity, while yet another said he got N13 billion to pay someone else for the Maritime University land.
“Based on these revelations, should we now fold our hands and allow these people to go away with public funds?
“Is anyone thinking about the innocent soldiers who lost their lives just because they did not get the necessary weapons to fight the terrorists?
“ What about the families left behind by these soldiers who were sent to their early graves because of the misappropriation of these funds?
“What about those who lost their means of livelihood after the terrorists overran their towns and villages?
“ What of the millions of Nigerians, especially women and children, who are now living in IDP camps?
“Is it not clear that the cruel fate that has befallen these unfortunate people is a direct result of the misuse of the funds meant to fight the terrorists?
“Irrespective of political, religious or tribal leanings, and not minding whether anyone belongs to the APC, PDP, SDP or Labour Party, if you have stolen public funds, you must not go scot-free,’’ he said.
He urged all Nigerians and every arm of government to rise up and be counted, saying that “ defeat is not an option if our country is to survive.’’
“As President Muhammadu Buhari likes to say, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. There is no better way to say it.
“President Buhari is leading the fight by example and right from the front.
“ His unparalleled integrity, his uncommon love of country and his undiluted dedication to service all put him in good stead to wage this war.
“And we must all support him and own the war in order to ensure its success; this is not Buhari’s war. This is not APC’s war. This is Nigeria’s war,’’ he said.
He also appealed to the judiciary to ensure the success of the war, saying the pending cases of corruption must not be allowed to outlast the present administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister also met with the Bureau Chiefs and Editorial Management of Rariya Hausa, an indigenous newspaper in Abuja. (NAN)

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