Publishing names of looters has legal implications – Ngige

Helen Shok Jok, Geneva

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige says that Federal Government’s decision not to publish the names of Nigerians who looted the nation’s treasury was for security reasons.

“Government did not publish the names of Nigerians who looted the treasury because of its legal implications,” he said.

Dr Ngige stated this when he met with the officials of Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to him, government is being careful not to scare away those who want to return money.

“Some Nigerians have willingly returned money illegally acquired¬†money to the government, while some others who are in court have insisted that they are not guilty because they were given money to undertake projects.

“It is the belief of the government that those who willingly return the money should not be ridiculed since the government is still discussing with them.

“This is with a view to getting them return more money, but if their names are published, they may not want to return the money,” Ngige said.

He said government would not also publish the names of those under investigation as they may decide to charge the government to court or get a judgment against the government.

Ngige said that the government is expecting others to engage in plea bargain.

The minister explained that what had been published was only the money and assets recovered so far by the government.

Ngige said the present administration had achieved a lot in terms of the fight against corruption.

“I also want to say that government is committed to ensuring decent jobs for Nigerians, creating environment for Nigerians to be gainfully employed as well as a conducive environment for self-employed.

According to the Minister “Government wants to take the attention of Nigerians away from white collar jobs by promoting skill acquisitions and vocational training for Nigerian youths.”

He said that government had taken proactive measures to secure and protect Nigerians from the activities of militancy, insurgency and kidnapping, among others.

“The nation is currently passing through serious economic challenges as a result of the fall in the prices of crude oil which is the main source of the Nigerian economy.

As a result of this, the missions will also be affected in terms of finances but government has begun the effort to diversifying the economy,” Ngige said.

The Minister is the leader of the Nigerian delegation to the 105th session of the International Labour Organisation ILO’ holding in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conference will end on Friday.