African Union, AU, leaders requested Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, take charge the task of championing the war throughout the continent, during the 30th African Union Summit at Adis Ababa.
The Nigerian presidency on Wednesday said it was happy at the choice of Mr. Buhari even as the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, back at home stated its “deeply disappointing reaction to the inauguration of President Buhari as the continental anti-corruption Champion for the year 2018”.
A statement by Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu flayed the critics.
“As a matter of fact, a section of politicians and some economists have been quick to pronounce the war against corruption in Nigeria a failure because those people are the greatest losers wherever the ordinary citizens make a gain.”
Mr. Shehu said the PDP in particular “has come to signify the face of corruption in Nigeria and they have not hidden their efforts to shrink the achievements of the Buhari Administration”.
“They are bent, as it clearly seems, on crushing all hopes of ridding this country of the scourge of corruption.
“As the President keeps saying, in 16 years that the party held sway, we solely relied on oil, the price of which was as high as US$140 per barrel.
“Government simply squandered oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries.
“This was done rather than growing the economy through capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing as this administration is currently doing,” he said.
Mr. Shehu also said that Nigeria did not record a ‘single major infrastructural project’ in the 10 years preceding the Buhari administration.
“In short, the money was mismanaged, spent largely on what was not needed and no savings were made. They compounded the problem by borrowing heavily and failed woefully to pay contractors and international oil companies,” he said.
He also said the last two years of the Buhari administration have revealed the “massive and unrivalled level of corruption in which the PDP and its leaders at the highest level thrived.”
“So it mustn’t surprise anyone really that they have chosen their obstructionist role rather than lending a helping hand in the fight against corruption.”
Diezani ‘looted enough cash to build six cancer treatment centres’
Mr. Shehu also came down hard on a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, over the massive recoveries of stolen assets traced to her.
Mrs. Madueke is currently in London facing corruption trial while she reportedly also battles cancer.
“By a rough estimate, the amount of money including the value of estates recovered (or in the process of being recovered) from a single woman by virtue of being close to power can pay for the construction and equipping a cancer treatment hospital for each of the six geopolitical the Federation, and still counting,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said recent attacks against the Buhari administration came out simply to, “cast a pall on this continental honour to President Buhari and to Nigeria which, in terms of added significance had the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Anthony Gutierrez at hand giving full support”.
The presidential spokesperson said it is both a tragedy and an opportunity that this honour on Nigeria and its leader is in its timing, is coming amid heightened criticism of his well-recognized efforts to purge the country of bribery, corruption and illicit cash outflows that have become so entrenched to the point of forming a strong and normative social practice.
“To help Africa lead this fight, leaders of the 55 countries making up the African Union, AU leaned on President Muhammadu Buhari who swept to power in 2015 vowing to get to grips with graft and unbridled looting of public resources which is undermining the Nigerian economy.
“In its two-and-a-half years in office, the administration has made significant strides in its efforts to identify and block loopholes through which oil revenues are stolen; payrolls are populated with ghost and non-existent workers and devised ways of blocking criminals as well as corrupt businessmen and officials from laundering illicit wealth.
“As aptly captured by retired Ambassador Usman Sarki, the former Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, ‘this well-deserved laurel on Mr. President’s brow demonstrates the close affinity between domestic policy and foreign policy, particularly in matters that have transnational and global significance like fighting corruption.’
“Through concerted advocacy and demonstrable leadership shown by Mr. President, the world and Africa have now come to accept the fact that Nigeria is making progress in the anti-corruption front. This positive achievement is now acknowledged as an example of best practice for others in Africa.
“The African Union’s selection of this subject as the theme for this year’s summit meeting is not only of symbolic significance. The AU has come to recognise that corruption is an egregious problem that has fostered many ills all over the Continent.
“Appointing an Anti-corruption Champion is appropriate and timely, and an indication of the prioritisation of the fight against the scourge by all of Africa.
“This is the logical outcome of many previous initiatives by the AU, such as its high-level panel (jointly with UNECA) on illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa that was chaired by H.E. Thabo Mbeki.
“Giving this honourable task to President Buhari is therefore, recognition of his mettle and reinforcing the evident commitment that he has shown to eradicating this evil in Nigeria. While Mr. President can be trusted to guide by example and provide the needed leadership, it is also important for others to support his efforts.”
The spokesperson also spoke on the theme of the event and Mr. Buhari’s role.
“As widely-reported in his speech on the launch of the African Anti-Corruption Year dubbed Project 2018 on the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s Transformation,” the President showed a clear understanding of what the task entails and showed a readiness of the rare type to take on the assignment diligently.
“In his (Buhari) words: ‘I promise that I and my government shall do our very best to ensure that the anti-corruption agenda receives the attention it deserves.’
“He made it clear that corruption is indeed one of the greatest enemies of our time; that it runs completely counter to our shared values as Africans of justice, the sense of fairness, law and order and equity and equality. Corruption, he said, rewards those who do not play by the rules and also creates a system of patronage where the resources are shared out by a small elite, while the majority are trapped in poverty.
“When it comes to tackling corruption, Mr. Buhari noted that the Continent has made significant strides in putting in place legal and policy frameworks, notably the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC). However, the adoption of legal and policy frameworks on their own have not had the desired success in tackling this evil. This, he noted, is one of the driving reasons why the AU has designated 2018 the African Anti-Corruption Year. The idea is to scale up the efforts during 2018.”
The statement also said the AU would organise a Youth Congress on Corruption to address the specific challenges and impacts that corruption has on emerging leaders.
“Engaging young leaders is especially important in developing a new attitude to transparency and accountability.
“According to President Buhari, the manifestation of corruption in Africa is also a reflection of the need for stronger leadership and oversight institutions. ‘Tackling corrupt acts and greed require a reorientation of our attitudes and perceptions to corrupt practices. Changing the state of play requires retraining and education as a means to instil better and more transparent values,’ he said.”
The statement noted that as part of the activities during the year, Mr. Buhari would bring about engagements with key actors in the fight against corruption including parliamentarians, the media, the business community and faith based groups.
“As corruption cuts across every sector in society, we should continue to support consultative dialogue among all actors to forge joint solutions to this menace and we look forward to your support and ideas.”
Source: ( AFP )
Petrol Subsidy Not Completely Gone, Says Minister
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has stated that contrary to popular belief, the federal government has not completely removed petrol subsidy.
Speaking on Channels’ Politics Today, the minister said: “We are still trying to manage this bumpy start. We have not been able to get to that 100 percent removal of subsidy from the foreign exchange end.
“If we were to take it out completely and allow people to access foreign exchange from the parallel market and allow people to import the product, the price of the pump will even be more.
“The Federal Government, knowing the impact it will have on the people, decided that they are still going to manage this situation.”
Speaking on the importation of petrol from Niger, the Minister expressed that the importation of fuel from the Niger Republic is not something Nigerians should be embarrassed about.
He expressed that Nigerians should be proud that the Federal Government is set to resume the importation of petroleum products from its neighbour.
‘Your Report On Lekki Capable Of Setting Nigeria On Fire’ — Lai Writes CNN
JustLai MohammedMinister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has expressed that the CNN report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting of October 20 2020 is capable of setting the country on fire.
Recall that CNN had published an investigative report titled, ‘How a bloody night of bullets and brutality quashed a young protest movement in Nigeria,’ claiming soldiers fired live ammunition directly at protesters at the Lekki toll gate.
But Nigeria’s Minister for Information denied the report of the US-based cable television, calling for a sanction on CNN over the report, adding that the report on the Lekki tollgate incident was highly irresponsible.
Reacting in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate’, CNN maintained that it stood by its earlier report on the Lekki tollgate incident.
In a petition dated November 23 and addressed to Mr. Jonathan Hawkins VP, Communications, CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia U.S, the federal government demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.”
Lai Mohammed, who signed the petition, said if the US-based media organisation failed to carry out its demand, the Nigerian government will “take any action within its laws’’ to prevent CNN from aggravating the End SARS crisis.
Amaechi Apologises For Abuja-Kaduna Train Breakdown
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has apologised to Nigerians for the breakdown at the Abuja-Kaduna railway which occurred between November 18 and November 20.
The former Governor of Rivers State stated this at the Moniya rail station on Monday while inspecting the ongoing rail project in Ibadan.
Amaechi pointed out that the Chinese have been called to attend to the problem as the federal government does not expect any mechanical fault at this early stage.
Ameachi said, “I want to apologise to Nigerians over what happened at the Abuja-Kaduna rail station.”
“We now have new locomotives, and we’ve called the Chinese because we never expected the mechanical fault at this early stage.”
“On behalf of the Federal Government, the ministry and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), we apologise to Nigerians, and I’ve instructed the NRC to fix it or invite the Chinese.”
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