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FG scores self high on graft, insurgency fights

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie (Abuja Bureau Chief)
04 February 2022   |   4:03 am
The Federal Government has scored itself high in the fight against corruption and extreme violence in Nigeria.

Lai Mohammed

• Says TSA saves N4b monthly, refuses to tackle TI
The Federal Government has scored itself high in the fight against corruption and extreme violence in Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the pass mark, yesterday, at a media briefing to throw light on the stewardship of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Noting that the three major policy planks of the government were to fight corruption, tackle insecurity and revamp the economy, the minister admitted that fighting graft “is always a challenge to every government due to the tendency of corrupt people to fight back.”

“This explains why naysayers have continued to belittle or dismiss the administration’s anti-corruption efforts. Let me say here that fighting corruption is a marathon and never a sprint,” he added.

The minister, who listed some of the “much more-visible activities” of the various anti-corruption agencies, noted that last year alone, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) secured a total of 2,220 convictions as against the 976 recorded in 2020, 195 for 2016, 189 in 2017, 312 in 2018 and 1,280 for 2019.

He said: “The 2021 figure of 2,220 convictions represents a 98.49 per cent success rate, with only 34 cases, representing 1.51 per cent discharged. On monetary recoveries, in 2021 alone, the EFCC recovered a total of N152,088,698,751.64; 1,182,519.75 Pounds Sterling; 50 Emirati Dirham, 1,723,310 Saudi Riyal; 1,900 South African Rand; US$386,220,202.85; 156,246.76 Euros; 1,400 Canadian Dollars; 5.36957319 Bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum.”

In spite of this effort, Transparency International (TI), in its recent Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), reported that Nigeria has dropped five places in the 2021 ranking. It was rated 154 out of 180 countries reviewed and has fallen back five places from 149 in 2020, making it the second most corrupt nation in West Africa.

The minister clarified that the briefing was not to join issues with TI, but to highlight the mileage the Buhari administration had achieved in curing Nigeria of sleaze.

He further listed implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Petroleum Industry Act, Financial Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary (2020), Whistle-Blower Policy, Assets Recovery, Justice and Law reforms and Nigeria’s membership of the Open Government Partnership as some of reform policies to track, trace and stop the flow of illicit funds in financing terrorist activities in the country.

“The TSA system has now been implemented in more than 90 per cent of all federal MDAs and it has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accounts previously spread across Deposit Money Banks in the country, and monthly savings of an average of N4 billion in bank charges,” he added.