FG threatens to release more names of alleged treasury looters



By Olu AJAYI (Abeokuta)

NIGERIA: THE All Progressive Congress (APC) administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has threatened to release more names of alleged treasury looters.

The government had recently released some names which have continued to attract criticisms within and outside the country.

*President Muhammadu Buhari.

Many of the critics, who faulted the names, argued that the list contained only the names of the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party that lost the 2015 presidential election.

But, on Sunday, the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a news release that since the release of the previous two lists, there had been overt and covert attempts to intimidate and blackmail the federal government into discontinuing the release of more names.

He said: “Hack writers have inundated the social and traditional media with articles casting aspersion on the lists, while some newspapers have even resorted to writing editorials against the federal government over the release of the lists.”

“Most of the write-ups have accused the government of politicising the anti-graft war by releasing the lists.  We strongly disagree with them,” the Minister declared.

Mohammed further said: “We do not have the power to try or convict anyone.  That is the exclusive preserve of the courts.  But we have the power to let Nigerians know those who turned the public treasury into their personal piggy banks, on the basis of very concrete evidence, and that is what we are doing.”

The Minister stressed that the government had always known that corruption will fight back, and hence it was not surprised at the hiring of “hack writers” to attack the very idea of naming and shaming the looters or the threats of litigation.

“All the fuss about politicising the anti-corruption fight is aimed at preventing the government from releasing more looters’ names and at the same time muddling the waters,” he said.

Mohammed emphasised: “But 1,000 negative write-ups or editorials will not deter us from releasing the third and subsequent lists.

“For those who have chosen to give succour to looters, we wish them the best of luck with their new pastime.”

*Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“We know where the pressure is coming from,” he said, adding: “However, the die is cast.  We will not stop until we have released the names of all those who have looted our commonwealth.  Those who have not looted our treasury have nothing to be afraid of.”

The Minister explained that the opposition and pressure on the government to the prior released names were not unexpected, but he challenged anyone wrongly accused to seek redress in court.

According to him, it was the defeated PDP that dared the government into releasing the list of its members who looted the treasury, which made it took the action.

He declared: “We are not underestimating the desperation of the looters, but we wish to assure Nigerians who are justifiably outraged at the mindless plundering of the nation’s wealth also of our determination not to back down.”

“Nigerians must know those who have wrecked the country and mortgaged the future of their children,” Mohammed added.

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