The Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, often nicknamed by his detractors as “Lie” or “Lying” Mohammed, has given conflicting amounts of money recovered from Nigerian looters.
Two days ago, Mr. Mohammed said $151 million and N8 billion had been recovered from looters within the past two months alone. But on Monday, Mr. Mohammed increased the amount to $160 million and N8 billion.
“Within two months of our declaration of a policy of whistle blowers, we have been able to recover $160 million and N8 billion,” he said in a statement by his spokesman Segun Adeyemi.
Mr. Mohammed had earlier said he was not including the $9.8 million recovered from a home belonging to the former General Managing Director of NNPC. That latest seizure is still being investigated and cannot be out-rightly called looted funds.
The conflicting figures may leave many Nigerians doubtful and in the belief that the government is trying to use the fight against corruption as a propaganda tool.
Mr. Mohammed said the Federal Government will intensify the war against corruption to ensure that all those who abused the collective human rights of Nigerians through mindless looting of the treasury are brought to book.
The Minister made his comments in Abuja on Monday at the commissioning of the Human Rights Radio.
“I want to say this without any equivocation that the protection of human rights is the first responsibility of any government and this government in particular has done more than anybody to protect the collective human rights of Nigerians.
“I am going to prove this. The greatest assault to our collective human rights are those people who have stolen our money; those people who have pocketed money meant for roads, power, water, Medicare. Those are the people who have assaulted our collective human rights; those are the people who have reduced Nigerians to nothingness. Those are the people who have humiliated this country and this is why this government’s anti-corruption war must be supported by all and sundry,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the current economic hardship has its root in the reckless looting of the treasury by public officials, and that the Buhari’s government is doing everything possible to fix the economy and make Nigerians happy.
“No economy in the world can survive this mindless looting. If everyone of us that has access to power should steal $10 million, how can the Naira ever be strong. If we steal over $136 million, how can our roads be in good order or how can we have power,” he queried.
The Minister, however, expressed delight that the introduction of the Whistle-blower Policy by this Administration is helping to expose corrupt officials and the recovery of billions of naira in stolen funds.
The Minister said his ministry will partner with the Human Rights Radio to popularise the Whistle-blower Policy.
In his remarks, the founder of the Human Rights Radio, Ahmed Isah, who described the Minister as his mentor, said the radio station will support humanity, irrespective of religious or ethnic inclinations.
He described the radio station as the first to be solely dedicated to human rights in the country and promised to use the platform to project the image of Nigeria.