Why Buhari administration is not keen about restructuring Nigeria – Minister
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that given what the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari inherited, restructuring the country could not have been its priority.
The minister said this on Thursday when he featured on “Focus Nigeria” current affairs Programme of African Independent Television (AIT), anchored by Gbenga Aruleba.
Mr. Mohammed said with the high level of corruption, economic downturn, insecurity, particularly with the activities of Boko Haram, which had taken over half of the North East, the government could not have contemplated restructuring.
He said the focus of the government which also formed the basis of its campaign were to fight corruption and insecurity and fix the economy.
The minister said two years after its inauguration, the administration had not failed but succeeded on the three campaign promises.
He said the divisive messages and hate speeches raging presently in the country were not new to the government because the government had envisaged it and had been sensitising Nigerians to its dangers.
The minister assured all Nigerians to go about their lawful businesses and disregard any threat from any quarters.
He said the government would not be found wanting in the discharge of its primary responsibility of protecting lives and property of all Nigerians wherever they reside.
He added that the government would deal decisively with anyone or group that disturbs the peace of the nation and constitutes threat to any one or group.
The minister said contrary to perception in certain quarters, the government’s anti-corruption fight was not one sided or targeted at opposition.
He said that anywhere there was anti-corruption fight, corruption would fight back and the tensions being experienced in the country could be linked to it.
He said before the government took over corruption was so alarming that 55 persons stole N1.35 trillion in seven years.
Mr. Mohammed disclosed that N700 billion was appropriated and released to Ministry of Niger Delta only between 2009 and 2015 for road construction.
He said from record made available, N453 billion were paid to contractors, who did not do up eight per cent of the construction works given to them.
The minister said the record also showed that the contracts were over inflated to the level that a kilometre of road was awarded for between N300 million to N1.2 billion.
He said such was the level of corruption that the previous administration left N1.7 trillion debts owed to local contractors.
Mr. Mohammed said beyond cleaning the mess left by the precious administration, the government had been spending massively on infrastructure particularly roads, railways and power.
He said the government in the last two years had constructed 369 kilometres of roads, empowered 542 local contractors and created 17,000 direct jobs and 50,000 indirect jobs.
On the attitude of the judiciary to the anti-corruption fight of government the minister said that the entire justice system of the country needed overhaul to ensure prompt and effective prosecution.
The minister solicited the support of every Nigerians, the judiciary and the lawyers and judges in particular for the success of anti-corruption fight.
On power, the minister said the government did not know the enormity of the flaws in the privatisation process of the sector by the previous administration.
He said the process was so corruptly done that the so-called investors did not have the capacity in term of finance and manpower.
The minister said the option would had been to cancel the entire privatisation process, but for the wrong signal such decision would sent to the global investment community about the country.
Mr. Mohammed said that despite the flaw, the government improved generation from 2,690 megawatts it inherited to 5,040 megawatts in February 2016.
He said the drop in generation was as a result of the pipelines destruction in Forcados, which the government was fixing and the current power generation was 4000 megawatts.
He said the government had also signed 13 power generation agreements on solar which would contribute 10,000 megawatts to the national grid. (NAN)