Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has got in war of words with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to make public names of the 55 privileged Nigerians that he claimed stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013 or keep his mouth shut permanently.
The Minister had while addressing media bureau chiefs in Abuja on Monday at the commencement of the National Sensitization Campaign Against Corruption, said 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84 billion; four ex-ministers – N7 billion; 12 ex-public servants both at federal and state levels – over N14 billion; eight people in the banking and finance sector – N524 billion while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653 billion bringing the total to N1.34 trillion.
But Governor Fayose would hear none of it as he lampooned the All Progressives Congress-led federal government for bringing up another story of looted funds to create diversion from its inability to proffer solutions to the country’s economic problems.
“The reality is that the APC Federal Government has destroyed the economy within eight months in power and rather than look for solutions to the problems facing Nigeria, Lai Mohammed and his cohorts are branding bogus figures about stolen money just to cover up their lack of solution to the country’s economic problems”, a press statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, quoted him as saying.
Fayose, who also weighed in on the controversy surrounding the handcuffing of the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, during his court appearance on Tuesday, described the development as disgraceful.
“Even the masterminds of Madala and Nyanya bomb blasts, Kabiru Sokoto and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche were not handcuffed when they were arraigned in court”, he said.
The governor said it was funny that close to one year after it won the presidential election, the President Mohammadu Buhari-led APC federal government was still operating as if it was campaigning for votes.
“They are turning governance to Nollywood, such that when one movie is about to end, they release another one. As it appears that the $2.1 billion arms deal movie is getting to an end, Lai Mohammed introduced another movie titled; N1.34 trillion loot.
“Unfortunately for them this time around, Nigerians have become tired of watching the Federal Government movies, they now want reality. Nigerians are now aware of the scam in the $2.1 billion arms deal movie having seen that the amount those already charged to court were charged with is not more than N10 billion and $2.1 billion is over N600 billion.
“Therefore, Lai Mohammed must either tell Nigerians details of the 15 former governors and 55 people that he claimed stole N1.34 trillion, where the stolen money is kept and bring back the money or apologise to Nigerians for lying”, Fayose said.
While describing the persistent claim by the federal government that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) destroyed Nigeria for 16 years as hypocritical, Governor Fayose said Nigerians must begin to ask which party majority of those presently ruling the country under the APC government were between 1999 and 2014.
“Majority of those who ran the Federal Government between 1999 and 2003 under the PDP are in the APC government today. President, vice president, ministers, governors, senators and House of Reps members who were part of the PDP government are now in APC. Yet, APC keeps telling Nigerians that PDP ruined the country. This hypocrisy must stop”, he said.
The governor, who insisted that due process of the law must be followed in fighting corruption, noted that disobedience to court orders itself is a criminal offence that is more grievous than corruption.
He also maintained that no amount of harassment and intimidation will silence opposition in the country, saying President Buhari and his men should rather get used to the reality that opposition must exist in a democracy.