The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday in Abuja, disclosed that the looted funds so far recovered is insignificant to help revive the present economic crisis in the country.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has always made public the amount of money recovered.
“What we have recovered and if my record is right is about N78 billion, and 3 million dollars,” he quoted.
But a fact check by Ripples Nigeria, shows that Mohammed’s quotation contradicts the amount government earlier claimed it recovered between May 2015 and May 2016.
The Federal Government had in June 2016, released list of recovered loot in a statement by Mohammed, claiming that recoveries made between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016, amounted to N78, 325,354,631.82; $185,119,584.61; £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250.
The minister”s disclosure on Friday also, did not reflect what has been recovered from looters between June 2015 and now.
Mohammed added that Federal Government has been able to block various accounts in which “about $9 billion is found but those are not money available to us because we are still in court over them.
“The government spends N165b every month to pay federal civil servants, even what has been so far recovered will not even pay 50 per cent of the salaries in a month.’’
The minister however, assured Nigerians that every penny recovered from looters will be prudently spent and that nobody could re-loot what had been recovered under Buhari’s administration.
He called on Nigerians to bear in mind that what has been so far recovered is so insignificant compared to what the people needed on a continuous basis, adding that the Federal Ministry of Finance released N400 billion for capital projects, mostly on roads, railway, and power.
“N400b seems a lot, but you must also understand that for three or four years contractors were not paid. So, when we paid this money to contractors, they also use part of it to settle their own debt, they use part of it to recall laid off staff.”
Mohammed had also on Thursday, said that the call for resignation of President Buhari by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the economy is “preposterous”.
According to him, “It is very painful in a situation where the armed robber is now the one sympathising with the victim. I read in the dailies that the PDP said that the President must resign because of the economy.
“While we are not going to indulge in blame game, I think we should also be honest enough to admit that we will not have been where we are today if they had done what they ought to do. For the party to ask the President to resign is just a big joke,” he said.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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