The Federal Government has vowed not to relent in its battle against
corruption, saying the anti-graft campaign is crucial to the survival of
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the
remark yesterday in Lagos when he paid a courtesy visit to the
headquarters of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation newspaper.
Debunking allegations that the administration of President Muhammadu
Buhari does not have respect for the rule of law, the minister said: “In
this Administration’s battle against corruption, we have also been accused
of not respecting the rule of law. I make bold to say that this is not
true. The mere fact that those who have been accused of corruption are
having their day in court is a reflection of our respect for the rule of
law. We will continue to ensure a strict adherence to the rule of law in
our anti-corruption effort and, indeed in all aspects of governance.
“But make no mistake about it, this government will not relent in its
battle against corruption, and within the confines of the law,
irrespective of what anyone may say. This is because for our nation, it is
a war of survival. Today, in our country, corruption is on first line
charge. That’s how serious it is. The good news is that Nigeria is so
fortunate to have at the helm of affairs, at this time, a leader of
impeccable character, proven integrity, courage, dedication and love of
country. We intend to leverage this in our fight against corruption.
“We need the support of the media to ensure the success of this fight. As
I have said at different fora, we consider the media as our partners. When
we launched the National Security Awareness Campaign Against Terrorism,
the media were at the vanguard and, thanks to them, we are achieving our
objectives of rallying the support of the citizenry for the war. In fact,
I can say that Nigerians are now taking ownership of the war, and I must
commend the media for partnering with us in this campaign.
“Some have said that we are dwelling only on corruption to the detriment
of other sectors. Our response is that if corruption is not tamed, nothing
else we do will work. Imagine fetching buckets and buckets of water and
pouring them into a basket. Not a drop of the water will be retained. But
the moment the basket is replaced with, say a basin, even one bucket of
water will amount to something. Seeking to uplift the economy without
fighting corruption is akin to pouring water into a basket. That is why we
will not stop talking about corruption”.
Calling on the media to partner with the Federal Government in executing
the National Sensitization Campaign Against Corruption programme, Mr.
Mohammed said: “Those who have looted our common wealth are powerful. They
own newspapers, whether online or offline, they own radio and television
stations. They are awash with cash and they have a huge army of
supporters. But they are not more than the 170 million Nigerians who have
been bearing the brunt of the looting of the treasury in terms of the
absence of the dividends of democracy, especially upgraded infrastructure,
good education, as well as good and affordable health care.
“Our strategy in sensitising our people is to dwell on the cost of
corruption, rather than talking about it in the abstract. When we release
figures of the huge sums of money that have been looted, we did not do
that to vilify anyone. Rather, our intention is to give Nigerians a
different perspective to the anti-graft battle. That’s why we did not
mention names, even though we have all the names”.He added: “Recall that
at the launch of the National Sensitization Campaign against Corruption, I
did disclose that 55 Nigerians allegedly stole a total of 1.34 trillion
Naira between 2006 and 2013. I also said if only we could recover just one
third of the looted funds, we will be able to construct 635 kilometres of
dual-carriage way; build 183 schools; educate 3,974 children from primary
to tertiary level at the cost of 25.24 million per child, build 20,062
units of 2-bedroom housing units and build one ultra-modern hospital in
each of the 36 states of the Federation. Now, because that money was
looted and had not been returned to the government coffers, we could not
do any of those things enumerated above. That is the cost of corruption”.