Being The Text of The Press Conference Addressed By The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos on Sunday, 12 Nov. 2017
Good afternoon gentlemen. Permit me to thank you most sincerely for honouring our invitation to this press conference. We have had to reschedule this meeting a number of times due to our very tight work schedule. For that, I apologize.
2. At another press conference we held at this same venue last week, I did say that it will be a tragedy if the PDP is ever allowed to come back, especially because our Administration has been working round the clock to take Nigeria out of the hell hole where it was dumped by the PDP. Then, I dwelt on the progress that the Administration has made in the area of the economy
3. Today, I want to focus on the progress we have made in the fight against corruption which, as you know, is one leg of the tripod on which our policy sits. The others are the fight against insecurity and the revamping of the economy. Gentlemen, nothing shows the rot of the past more than the level of corruption which this Administration inherited. Our commonwealth was looted with impunity by the same people who now say they want to come back. Indeed, it will not just be a tragedy, but a double tragedy, if we ever allow these same people to preside over our commonwealth.
4. Where do we start? Do we want a Diezani back as Petroleum Minister, after the recovery of at least 43 million dollars and 56 houses from this one person?
5. Do we want the 2.9 billion dollars – that’s about one-eighth of the 2018 Budget – that has been successfully traced and recovered from looters by the EFCC since the inauguration of the present administration, to be re-looted? What about the 151 million dollars and N8 billion in looted funds that have been recovered from just
three sources as a direct result of the introduction of the whistle-blower policy? Do we want them to be re-looted?
6. What about the persistent under-remittance of operating surpluses by State Owned Entities? Under the PDP, JAMB only remitted an aggregate of 51 million Naira. In September 2017, the same JAMB announced it is ready to remit 7.8 billion Naira back to the Government. Do we want JAMB to go back to remitting 51 million Naira?
7. In their time, they lacked the political will to implement the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which they started. We are now fully implementing the TSA. Three trillion Naira, almost half of the estimated revenue in the 2018 budget, has accrued to Government with the enforcement of the TSA policy
8. There is more: With the elimination of thousands of ghost workers, we have saved 120 billion Naira. We have removed the 108 billion Naira in maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA; and monthly we are saving 24.7 billion Naira with our determined implementation of the TSA.
10. We must also never forget the alleged diversion of 2.1 billion dollars earmarked for arms purchase by officials of the immediate-past administration.
11. As the pace of politics gradually picks up ahead of 2019, it is important that we let Nigerians know the enormous progress that the Buhari Administration has made in just a little over two years, and to also remind them of where the country was dumped by the PDP when we assumed office on 29 May 2015.
12. Lest I forget: They recently alleged that our Administration plans to arrest 50 of their members for alleged corruption. Really? Are there still up to 50 people in the tottering PDP? Seriously, the guilty are afraid (according to the title of one of James Hadley Chase novels). Let those who have plundered our treasury face the music, if they must.
13. Finally, this Administration is cleaning up the Augean Stable of the PDP years. It’s been a tough task but we are determined and we are succeeding. It is a mark of the contempt in which the PDP holds Nigerians that the party is even talking of returning to power, even when the rot it left behind is yet to be totally cleared. Never again must Nigeria be bedeviled by a rapacious, impunity-prone and plunderous party like the PDP.
14. I thank you for your kind attention