Posted by News Express | 27 January 2016 | 2,718 times
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday said his ministry had dismissed 13 staff members – among them Directors) in one of its agencies for alleged job racketeering. Mohammed, who declined to mention the name of the affected agency, said this at a news conference in Abuja.
He said the affected staff members who were between grade levels nine and 16 were already helping the police investigating the alleged job racketeering.
“Actually, it is my ministry – Information and Culture. This was what had happened before we got here.
“One of the parastatals actually there was a racket in which N300,000 to N400,000 jobs were given.
“I think this involved almost 400 people and the racket was uncovered.
“I think the first 200 plus were engaged before I came in.
“What was pathetic about that particular scandal was that it involved very fairly senior officials, one was on grade level 17. Unfortunately, he is late today.
“They immediately sent out text (messages) and people paid into their designated accounts. “They compromised IPPIS; they took IPPIS vouchers to capture these people on the payroll. ``Like I said, this is what happened before we came in, but it will be to the credit of the ministry even before we came in they stepped in.
“About 200 plus were disengaged, but when I came in I realised that the perpetrators themselves were still in the service.
“And I said `this cannot stand because somehow, somewhere, some people were trying to overturn the decisions even in the ministry and I said that such people should be dismissed. “And I said they should not be only dismissed but (be) handed over to the police and that has been done.”
“The minister urged Nigerians not to be taken in by the antics of the sponsored denunciation of the anti-graft war. He said the treasury looters, who have so much resources in their kitty, and their cohorts would throw everything but the kitchen sink at the present administration. “But we have no doubt that Nigerians are discerning enough to know the truth which, in the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, is that unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
“This administration will neither be distracted nor intimidated by anyone into abandoning or weakening the fight against corruption, which is a war of survival for our nation.
“No amount of media or other attacks will stop the fight. The pseudo-analysts and hack writers will labour in vain in their quest to stop the train of this anti-corruption fight.” According to him, today corruption is already fighting back, and it is fighting hard and dirty. “Sponsored articles have started appearing in the newspapers and in the Social Media, while ‘Talking Heads’ have started making the rounds in the electronic media, all deriding the fight against corruption as well as this administration.
“Not stopping there, they have been creating distractions by sponsoring articles in both local and international media to deride the administration's policies generally, tag the President a budding dictator and even write off his 2016 budget.”
Mohammed said the sole purpose of these attacks was to distract attention from the war on corruption.
“Let's talk more about the cost of corruption. Have you noticed that whereas Nigeria's national budget has increased from just over N900 billion in 1999 to over N6 trillion in 2016, poverty has also increased almost by the same proportion?
“The reason is not far-fetched: Appropriated funds have mostly ended up in the pockets of a few looters.”
The minister said when the money meant to construct roads were looted, the end result was that the roads were not built and the people suffered and even died in avoidable road accidents.
“When the money meant to provide electricity is looted, we all are perpetually sentenced to darkness.
“When the money meant for healthcare is pocketed by a few, we are unable to reduce maternal and infant mortality. These are the costs of corruption.”
He said that corruption must be tackled decisively for Nigerians to feel the impact of governance. (NAN)
•Photo shows Lai Mohammed.
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