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Ritics of the Muhammadu Buhari government's anti-corruption campaign yesterday got a reply - blackmail or no intimidation will halt the war.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said Nigerians ought to be ready for more mind boggling revelations in the 2015 and 2014 report, which is yet to be released.
The minister said the information he supplied to know whether it was true or not should be investigated by them, for those doubting the claims.
"Let us talk more about the price of corruption. Have you ever noticed that whereas the national budget in Nigeria has grown from just over N900 billion in 1999 to over N6 trillion in 2016, poverty has additionally increased almost by exactly the same percentage? The reason isn't far fetched: Appropriated funds have largely ended up in the pockets of a few looters."
He added: "Do you understand that What has so far been shown as per taking in the Dasukigate is about N54.8billion Whereas, in the whole 2015 all the zonal intervention act cost N52 billion. This is actually the expense of corruption for you personally.
The outcome is the roads are not built and the people suffer and even die in road accidents that are avoidable, when the money intended to assemble roads is looted. We all are sentenced to darkness, when the money meant to supply electricity is looted. We are not able to reduce infant and maternal mortality, when a few pocket the cash meant for healthcare. All these will be the costs of corruption. Let us not just speak about corruption in the abstract, let us be counting its cost to our own lives in order to drive home the point that corruption must be handled decisively for Nigerians to feel the impact of government."
Mohammed spoke of two courts of corruption - the court of public opinion as well as the court of law. "The court of public opinion can be as significant as the court of law," he said.
Mohammed raised the alarm that treasury looters had resorted to fighting back, using various means.
But he assured the nation that the administration will not give in to their distractions.
The government, he said, has achieved what it set out to attain, which can be to sensitise Nigerians.
He said: "Well, I can let you know today that corruption is already fighting back, and it's fighting hard and dirty. Sponsored articles have started appearing in the papers and in the social media while 'Talking Heads' have started making the rounds in the electronic media deriding this Administration as good as the struggle against corruption. Not stopping there, they've been creating distractions by sponsoring articles in both local and international media tag the President a budding fascist, to deride the Government's policies typically and also write off his 2016 budget. We realize that the sole purpose of these attacks is to divert focus in the war on corruption.
"It's saddening that some otherwise credible voices have unwittingly allowed themselves to be railroaded into the bandwagon of pro-corruption orchestra. They engage in sophistry to attempt to muster Nigerians against the anti-corruption battle. One hack writer even said the disclosure that 55 Nigerians allegedly stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013 didn't activate any rage among Nigerians! A disclosure that attracted the attention of the world's strongest country and world-wide financial institutions, played widely in the international media and made the front page in over a dozen Nigerian papers cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
"Additionally, among individuals who profited from the Dasukigate even had the temerity to deride the anti-corruption war as 'selective', when in saner climes he should happen to be so ashamed of himself that he could have apologised to the nation and hunkered down...for good. These sponsored assaults aren't about to quit. In the days ahead, they will become more coordinated and more extreme in reality. Nevertheless, the good thing is the fact that we're winning the war. Nigerians are now talking more about corruption. Nigerians are currently counting the cost of corruption with their lives.
"We call on Nigerians not to be taken in from the antics of the sponsored denunciation of the anti-graft war. The treasury looters, who have so much resources in their kitty, as well as their cohorts will throw everything but the kitchen sink at this Government, But we have no doubt that Nigerians are discerning enough to know the truth which, in the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, is that unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
"This Government will neither be distracted nor intimidated by anyone into giving up or weakening the fight against corruption, which will be a war of survival for our country. The fight will not be stopped by any amount of alternative assaults or media. The pseudo-analysts and hack writers will labour in vain in heir quest to stop the train of the anti-corruption fight."
The minister said the info on corruption was meant to sensitise the state on the evil of corruption.
"Let me restate, for emphasis, that when we give instances of mind-boggling acts of corruption, our aim isn't to vilify anyone but to sensitise Nigerians as to how harmful corruption would be to the state and also the individuals. The fact remains that what we have revealed so far is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. Nigerians should remain tuned for more shocking disclosures in the days ahead."
On the elements he gave on alleged treasury looters failed to include 1999-2005, he explained that the compilation covered only periods when the anti-corruption law became fully operational and that was around 2006.
The minister said by some time the details of 2014 and 2015 are released, the country will be shocked.
His words: "When we make following revelations, you'll be more shocked than you are now."
He also decried the scenario where it takes about seven or maybe more years to prosecute the "so called powerful" people.
On the role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, the minister reiterated his earlier appeal that both the Bar and Bench should start to see the fight as a national effort.
He said " and I could ensure you that we've made a demo Along With the judiciary is willing and ready to cooperate with us. So we are aware that judiciary is very important, and we are reaching out to them, we are appealing to realize there are some structural reforms that need to take place and we're working to them.
The government was criticized for disobeying court orders or trampling on the rights of accused people. Mohammed differed.
He said: "What are we even talking about? Is the human right of the 55 persons more important than human rights of 170 Nigerians? But again, allow me to make it clear that we usually do not disobey court orders".
When prodded to provide information on the 55 men, he said the simplest way will be to head to the court or the EFCC to find out who they're as they all have one pending case or the other in the court bordering on corruption.
"On our own part also, we make sure that just as the management of legal justice is actualised, it'll decrease the length of time it takes now to prosecute a case because under that law, I think the most time allowed for adjournment is two."
Nigeria: New Nigerian Releases Special Edition in Sardauna's Memory
The New Nigerian Newspapers (NNN) Ltd, publishers of the New Nigerian number of papers, published a special edition Friday in memory of its founder, the late Premier of Northern Nigeria and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello who died on January 15, 1966; merely two weeks after creating the newspaper on January 1, 1966. On the edition's front cover is the lead headline, In Memoriam, using the rider, 50th Commemoration of the defunct northern Area Sir Ahmadu Bello of the passing of Premier; using a big image of the hero in his trademark apparel.
Much as the management and staff of the NNN made a statement by coming up with the special version of honouring the legendary founder of the paper, their expectations from current leaders of the North were cut short. Recently, the 50th commemoration of the passing on of the late Sardauna was held in Arewa House in Kaduna with distinguished personalities from the North in element and attendance of the programme was the debut of some versions of the New Nigerian released for the occasion. The concept was to raise cash for NNN to commence operations.
And about three hundred copies of NNN edition were rolled out. However, the outcome had not been the first goal as the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai just enjoined folks to purchase the special publication, saying that it's details of times and the late Sardauna's life. Daily Trust on Sunday thus assembled the copies sold at the event were not up to 40 (at N300 each), while the remaining copies were distributed to the vendors.
It could be recalled that creation stopped following the inability of the management to keep paying their salaries. Workers were owed several months of wages and other entitlements and also the basis for the default was said to be operational. Since that time, there have been repeated attempts to revitalize the company to no avail. First, two variations: New Nigerian Weekly and New Nigerian on Sunday were suspended. The daily edition was printing less than 2,000 copies.
Also, the management removed some 'redundant' staff but failed to pay them their benefits. Now, Daily Trust on Sunday assembled that cease of work and the months of unpaid salaries influenced on the staff. Later on, the Joint Workers Consultative Union of the New Nigerian Paper (NNN), Kaduna called off the 31-month strike which began on January 22, 2013. A statement to that effect was signed by Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Chairman NNN Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Bulus Shabayan, Chairman National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Products Workers (NUPPPPROW) NNN Chapel. The workers said they had resolved to resume responsibility. But upon resumption of responsibility, materials for work are not supplied by the direction and the workers managed to commence online publication. And because NNN was one of the foremost heritages of the late Sardauna and the duty of the 19-state Northern governments, attempts were made by the workers and management to relaunch it to businesses during the 50th commemoration of his death. However, the move was unsuccessful.
One of the workers of NNN who spoke to Daily Trust said now the move to raise resources for NNN at the 50th commemoration of the demise of Sardauna has failed, it will be back to status quo as well as the battle will continue. He said the claims and counter-claims involving the management and also the workers and between the workers and the 19 Northern governments may also continue. According to him, if any ceremony project its interest and related to Sardauna cannot give the focus that was desired to NNN and demands, he wondered what else can. On whether dignitaries and the governors knew they were to raise cash on the occasion for NNN, he said because it absolutely was in the programme they ought to have known.
Nigeria News: Press awash with Buhari's vacation, trial of senate president, airline takeover
The five days vacation taken by President Muhammadu Buhari, Supreme Court's nod for the trial of senate president along with the state takeover of Aero Contractor airline directed many Nigerian newspapers on Saturday.National Mirror described that eight months after he took over power from former President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday proceeded on vacation.
It said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would do the functions of the President.
Nation is excited that the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Friday got the green light from the Supreme Court to carry on with the 13-count false strength declaration charge brought against Senate President Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Vanguard said President Buhari has revealed that his government has within three months saved N2.2 trillion for the state through the enforcement of the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
Guardian said as problems of inferior power supply, lack of facilities, excess billings, dearth of maintenance and others remain, Nigerians have questioned the reasoning behind the hike in electricity tariff.
Daily Independent said Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, will hold a combined meeting with leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and top executives of Electricity Supply Companies next week to avert the planned picketing of the Discos by members of the NLC.
This Day reported that the assumption of complete ownership of Aero Contractors, a premium airline in Nigeria, will not affect its flight operations, as Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), takes within the airline due to debt.
As they engaged the vandals who have been armed to the teeth, the Sun reported that five military personnel deployed to checkmate conduit~line vandals at Abule place of Ikorodu, Lagos State were killed in the early hours of Friday.