Nigerians are not angry enough about corruption – Information Minister

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has expressed dismay at the passive attitude of many citizens of the country towards corruption as he maintained that the people were not angry enough about the situation.

Alhaji Mohammed made this disclosure while briefing Lagos State House correspondents after a meeting with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the Lagos House in Ikeja.

Cost of Corruption

He reiterated that “what the government wants to do is to let Nigerians know the cost of corruption to them.” He added that government’s emphasis was not just about figures but to accentuate the gravity of the long-run effect of the decadence.

“When we had a press conference in January and disclosed that 55 people allegedly stole 1.34 trillion (naira) between 2006 and 2013; what we tried to emphasise was what just one third of that money would have done to Nigeria and we did say, using World Bank rate and cost, that money would be able to build us five Lagos-Ibadan expressways, in addition, it would be able to give us one ultra-modern hospital in each state of the federation, in addition that money would have been enough to give us 20,000 two-bedroom units, in addition, it would have built 183 state-of the art-schools and the money left would still train 3,954 children from primary school to university level; so what we are trying to let Nigerians understand is that corruption is eating deep, not just into the fabrics of our morals but it is preventing development,” the Minister highlighted.

No witch-hunt

He also made it clear that the anti-corruption war in the country was not to witch-hunt anybody or to vilify anybody but for Nigerians to take possession of the process.

“Just last Sunday, the Punch (newspaper) reports that 381 million naira was recovered from the account of the wife of a retired Service Chief and Nigerians have showed no anger about it, in other climes you see people talking about it or you see people doing something about it, so until we kill corruption, we are not going to make any headway,” according to Alhaji Mohammed.

 Synergy on tourism

PIX 7254On the essence of his visit to the Governor, the Information Minister said that he came to discuss areas of common interests which the federal government would appreciate the collaboration of Lagos. He added that he also came to commend the state government for improving the security architecture which would have a bearing on tourism.

The elated minister said he was pleased with the disclosure of the governor that Lagos would partner with the Nigerian government especially the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in renovating the National Museum.

In the same vein, he solicited the intervention of Lagos State in revamping the National Theatre ahead of the 50th anniversary of the state next year.

Commendation was then given to the Lagos State Government on its Employment Trust Fund initiative which the Minister believed would further improve security because a great number of jobless youths would be taken off the streets.

Assurance and Interests

PIX 7193Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode during the meeting, assured the Information Minister that his administration would not shirk in its collaborative efforts with the Federal government.

Governor Ambode however advised the Minister to look at establishing a language and history museum as well as heritage centres, which he said could also serve as an avenue to reduce unemployment.

He solicited the support of the Federal Government in sourcing for iconic sculptures, indigenous artists and curators to make the “Lagos at fifty celebrations” colourful and memorable.