The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has dismissed the protestations of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the exclusive appearance of its members on the government’s alleged looters’ list, stating that the PDP was only being deceptive after having earlier challenged the government to mention the names of its so-called corrupt members.
Mohammed also promised that the federal government would continue to release more looters’ lists until it exhausts the names of people who allegedly stole from the nation’s treasury.
Mohammed said that the argument that the list only contained the names of PDP members “falls short without proper contextualization.”
He also challenged anyone who feels that he or she has been wrongly accused to seek redress in court.
In a statement by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, Mohammed said the government will not bow to “antics of hack writers and threats of litigation”.
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 names.
He also said there was no truth to the claims that the anti-graft war had been politicised.
”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. We strongly disagree with them,” Mohammed said.
“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.
”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.”
The federal government has also been accused of encroaching on judicial powers by listing as “looters” persons whose cases are still in court.
Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was named among the alleged looters, had filed a defamation suit against Mohammed.
Mohammed had claimed the PDP chairman collected N200million from Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA), an allegation Secondus denies.
On Friday, a High Court in Rivers State granted Secondus leave to summon Mohammed.
But Mohammed said the release of the list was not to convict anyone but to inform Nigerians of those who allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.
He added that the government had always known that corruption would fight back “fast and furious”.
”We do not have the power to try or convict anyone. That is the exclusive preserve of the courts,” he said.
“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.
”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.”
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