Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has reacted to speculations that the party is shielding PDP members that decamped to APC before the 2015 general election.
Shortly after releasing the controversial looters list which had mostly PDP members, the opposition party, PDP, in a statement, alleged that some of its members such as Rotimi Amaechi who decamped from PDP to APC and has been accused of looting the Rivers state treasury to fund the APC presidential campaign in 2015, is being shielded by the party.
In an interview with newsmen in Lagos, the Minister said the allegation is baseless and that is is very unfair to tag every PDP decampee to APC a looter. According to him, the allegation against the decampees is not established.
”There is a difference between allegations and established cases. All the cases I have mentioned (alleged PDP looters) are already in court. You see, how many times have people written that Lai Mohammed has billions of dollars. But, these are allegations that are just ridiculous. I can assure you that if there is any allegation against any member of this government, this government will investigate it. It would be unfair to say that everybody that joined APC from PDP is a looter; it would be unfair. I am saying that, whether you are of ACN stock or PDP stock or CPC stock and you are found to be corrupt, you will be investigated.
On why he released the controversial looters list, Lai Mohammed said
”We were challenged to do so. Don’t forget that on their own, the PDP said that they apologised to Nigerians for the way they ran Nigeria aground and we said, yes, apology is accepted, but, please return the funds. One of them challenged us to name those who had stolen money. I think gradually, it is becoming fashionable when you remind PDP that they brought us to this sorry path, they will say stop talking about what we did, please, continue with your own. But, we cannot move. It is important that Nigerians remember how we got here and the same people who have made no atonement say that they want to come back in 2019 to power. So, it is important for us to remind them. Let me tell you, this government is not in any panic. We are so proud of our acheivements that, in less than three years, I can stand up and say this is what we have achieved in the area of insecurity, this is what we have achieved in the economy, in the area of ease of doing business. There is no area we have not made our mark. We lifted Nigeria from number 165 in the ease of doing business to 145. It is not a mean feat. And we exited recession at a time when the price of crude was low. We were in recession when we implemented the diversification of the economy. It is on record that, despite all these challenges that we have not retrenched one person. So, why should we be afraid? Why should we panic? I don’t see any reason why we should panic. I think it is the imagination of people that the government is panicky. No.
The Minister said although the courts has to decide if the alleged looters are guilty or not, it is an established fact that many of those on the looters list did deep their hands in the national treasury when they were in office
”That is the business of the court. I am saying that on the 24th of February, Secondus took N100 million in cash. The then National Financial Secretary took N700 million. These are facts. They said name, and I said these are the people that were reported to have stolen money. So, what is prejudicial about it? Let them go and solve their matters in court, but if you challenge us to name names, we will name names” he said