Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed Friday said the Nigeria lost over $400billion to corruption in oil sector alone.
Delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Nexus Between Corruption and Underdevelopment of the Nigeria State’, organised by the Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on Friday, Mohammed stressed that corruption has undermined the development of the country.
Mohammed, who was not categorical on when the huge amount was stolen noted that if such a huge amount stolen from the oil sector alone had been invested in resuscitation of the nation’s refineries, Nigerians would not be suffering for inadequate supply of fuel as being currently experienced.
The Minister therefore, urged opinion leaders, traditional and religious leaders, the civil society, professional groups and others to make their voices heard in the fight, which he said had already received the support and acknowledgement from the US and global organizations like the World Bank.
He assured that on the part of government, there is no stopping this fight.
‘‘Those who doubt the resolve of this administration to successfully wage this battle will learn a tough lesson, a lesson of their lives. Failure is not an option in this fight,’’ he said, and announced the plan by the ministry to embark on a ‘road show’ on the anti-corruption sensitization efforts.
‘‘We intend to hold town hall meetings across the country to enable us speak directly to the people, especially at the grassroots,’’ the Minister said.
He drew a link between corruption and under-development, and noted that corruption has under-developed Nigeria and condemned the citizens into perpetual poverty
To buttress his assertion, the Minister listed numerous cases of corruption, including 1.9 billion-Naira Special Intervention Ebola Fund Scandal; the Police Equipment Funds scandal in which about 774 million Naira was diverted; the Dasukigate that has so far revealed that 21 individuals benefitted from the scam to a tune of 54 billion Naira; the Pension Scam, in which top government officials in charge of pension funds in the country looted about 273.9 billion Naira from 2005 to 2011 and the fuel subsidy scam, in which Nigeria spent 2.587 trillion Naira on fuel subsidy in 2011, 900 percent more than the 245 billion Naira that was appropriated for that purpose.
Alhaji Mohammed said that in order for the sensitization campaign he launched against corruption to be successful, it is focusing on the cost of corruption.
‘’This is because when people know that the epileptic power supply in the country, even after billions of Naira have been pumped into the sector, is a direct consequence of corruption, they will better understand the threat that corruption poses. When Nigerians realize that the frequent loss of lives on our roads is because someone has looted the funds meant to rehabilitate the roads, they will understand better.
‘’Perhaps the most recent instance here is the Dasukigate, in which 2.1 billion dollars meant for the fight against Boko Haram was diverted to other uses,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Minister had paid a courtesy visit to the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Bamitale Omole, who said the institution is proud of the achievements of the Minister, as a distinguished alumnus.
‘’The university admires you and is proud of you. Your achievements have shown you as a worthy GREAT IFE alumnus,’’ the Vice Chancellor said.
The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Gbemisola Adeoti, said the Distinguished Lecture Series was designed by the Faculty ‘’as an avenue to fulfill one of her obligations as a knowledge generating institution and also as an avenue to raise funds for the developmental projects of the Faculty’’