The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that no amount of
pressure, including antics of hack writers and threats of
litigation, will prevent it from releasing more names of alleged
looters of public treasury.
In a statement in Lagos on Sunday, Minister of Information
and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said since the release of the first
two lists of the alleged looters, there have been overt and covert
attempts to intimidate and blackmail the Federal Government into
discontinuing the release of more looters’ names.
”Hack writers have inundated the social and traditional media with
articles casting aspersion on the lists, while some newspapers have
even resorted to writing editorials against the Federal Government
over the release of the lists. Most of the write-ups have accused the
government of politicising the anti-graft war by releasing the lists.
We strongly disagree with them.
”We do not have the power to try or convict anyone. That is the
exclusive preserve of courts. But we have the power to let
Nigerians know those who turned the public treasury into their
personal piggy banks, on the basis of very concrete evidence, and that
is what we are doing,” he said.
Mohammed said the government has always known that corruption
will fight back, fast and furious, hence it is not surprised at the
hiring of hack writers to attack the very idea of naming and shaming
the looters, or the hysterical threats of litigation
”All the fuss about politicising the anti-corruption fight is aimed
at preventing the government from releasing more looters’ names and at
the same time muddling the waters. But 1,000 negative write-ups or
editorials will not deter us from releasing the third and subsequent
lists. For those who have chosen to give succour to looters, we wish
them the best of luck with their new pastime,” he said.
The Minister said the pressure being mounted on the government over
its decision to expose looters is not unexpected, adding: ”We know
where the pressure is coming from. However, the die is cast. We will
not stop until we have released the names of all those who have looted
our commonwealth. Those who have not looted our treasury have nothing
to be afraid of.
He challenged anyone who feels that he or she has been wrongly accused
to seek redress in court, rather than engaging in exhibitionist
Mohammed also reminded Nigerians that it was the PDP that dared to challenge the Federal Government into releasing
the list of PDP looters, hence the argument that the list only contained the
names of PDP members falls short without proper contextualization.
”We are not underestimating the desperation of the looters, but we
wish to assure Nigerians who are justifiably outraged at the mindless
plundering of the nation’s wealth also of our determination not to
back down. Nigerians must know those who have wrecked the country and
mortgaged the future of their children,” Mohammed added.