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Lai: NDDC wouldn’t be in a mess if previous govt paid attention to it

Lai: NDDC wouldn’t be in a mess if previous govt paid attention to it
July 28
14:22 2020

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the current allegations of mismanagement of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may have been avoided if the previous administration had paid attention to the commission’s affairs.

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Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Mohammed said recent allegations of corruption in government agencies have made many Nigerians misinterpret the government’s efforts “as a sign that the administration’s fight against corruption is waning”.

He added that the allegations of corruption against the NDDC are not new, noting that if the previous administration had paid attention to the commission, it would have possibly avoided the mess it is embroiled in.

He said it is a “sad irony” that those who watched the looting of the NDDC are the ones accusing the administration that is cleaning it up.

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“As you are all aware, Nigerians have recently been inundated with allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government agencies, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency, EFCC,” the minister said.

“In fact, the main opposition PDP has latched on to the developments to call for the resignation of Mr. President, a call that is nothing but infantile!

“However, I wish to state that the allegations of corruption in NDDC, for example, are not new. What is new is the speed and seriousness with which this administration has tackled, and is still tackling, the allegations.

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“Had such attention been paid to the running of the NDDC by previous administrations, the commission would probably have avoided its present predicament. Is it not a sad irony, then, that those under whose watch the alleged freewheeling spending by the commission started are now the ones accusing those who are cleaning up after them of corruption?”

The minister noted that the “revelations of the past few weeks” have shown that Buhari’s administration is not ready to sweep any allegation of corruption under the carpet and that there is no “sacred cow”.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union’s anti-corruption champion, who also has an impeccable reputation globally, remains the driver of the fight and no one, not the least the PDP under whose watch Nigeria was looted dry, can taint his image or reverse the gains of the fight. Anyone who disagrees that the anti-corruption fight is alive and well is free to dare us,” he said.

“What the revelations of the past few weeks, especially the investigation of the nation’s anti-corruption Czar, have shown is that this administration is not ready to sweep any allegation of corruption under the carpet; that there is no sacred cow in this fight, and that — unlike the PDP — we will not cover up for anyone, including the members of our party and government, who faces corruption allegations.

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“Our fight against corruption is blind to party affiliation, position in government and any other consideration.

“Remember, gentlemen, that the fight against corruption is not about loot recovery or convictions alone. We are also putting in place enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.

“Therefore, those who are celebrating the so-called waning of the administration’s anti-corruption fight are engaging in wishful thinking, and are not looking at the full ramifications of the fight.”

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