Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said President Muhammadu Buhari is currently under intense pressure to stop his administration’s ongoing anti-corruption war.
Although he said the pressure was being mounted by the Nigerian elite, he did not name those behind the campaign.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, on Thursday, the Vice-President spoke while granting audience to a delegation from the Muslim Congress of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Osinbajo added that those mounting pressure on Buhari to “slow down” the anti-corruption fight cut across tribal and religious lines.
He stated, “We get regular messages from some Nigerian elite saying ‘cool down.’
“It is a very strange morality that some of those people have, (which is) very complicated, and cutting across all tribes and religious differences.”
Osinbajo said the position of those putting pressure on the government was that “it (corruption) is not a big deal.”
He disclosed that those in that category had been advising the government that it should merely ask the looters of public treasury to return the money and go free.
He, however, assured his guests and Nigerians that despite the pressure, the present administration would not relent in the anti-corruption fight.
The vice-president expressed delight that contrary to the argument of the elite, a new set of Nigerians, who would not compromise their values but would maintain a sense of right and wrong, was emerging.
“The man on the street is very clear; so whatever some of these elite say, we shall keep our focus on the masses who voted for us,” the vice-president declared.
Osinbajo said it was unacceptable that in the last 16 years, there was not a single Federal Government completed road or rail project.
He attributed the situation to corruption, saying costs of projects were often inflated as people, entrusted with public trust, struggled to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.
The vice-president believed that it was the same inordinate desire for personal enrichment that explained why money meant to procure arms was distributed among persons at a time when the territorial integrity of the nation was being attacked.
“The insurgency has gone on for six years because government could not adequately equip the military,” he stated.
Osinbajo assured Nigerians that the present administration had no other agenda but the progress of the country.
“Mr. President and I are extremely focussed on what we need to do. We will focus on critical things, infrastructure and social investments,” he said.
The leader of the delegation, Imam Abdulahi Shuaib, expressed the group’s support for the government in its programmes; including anti-corruption, expressing the readiness of the group to offer assistance.
The vice-president also received delegations from the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency Reform.
During the visit of a delegation of FOSTER, a group consisting of NGOs involved in different issues in the Niger Delta area, Osinbajo restated government’s commitment to the development of the oil producing region.
He also commended the group for coming together to develop a common framework to support the process of development in the area.
The group, which said it adopted a common framework in order to avoid duplication, was led by Mr. Richard Oshowole.
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