From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The President Muhammadu Buhari administration would not back down in its battle to rid the country of corruption despite the strong resistance of the opposition and actions to thwart the efforts.
It admitted that so far, the battle to uproot corruption from Nigeria has not been easy, as he insisted that the vice has been fighting back vehemently.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, said this in a radio programme Hannu Da Yawaon FRCN Kaduna at the weekend.
“Let me say one thing. Those whose illicit ways of accumulating money have been stopped will criticize this government but all that will not derail the unfaltering commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the war against corruption,” Garba said.
He noted that ridding the country of corruption was one of the cardinal policies of President’s Buhari election campaign.
“He is aware that this was one of the main reasons why Nigerians in their millions put their trust in him; the main reason they voted him into power in 2015.
“To keep that trust of ordinary Nigerians who voted him into the office, he has vowed to give corruption a good fight. He will not let them down.
“Corruption has been fighting back vehemently, finding accomplices in various forms and guises. Nevertheless, the Buhari administration will not relent,” he said.
The presidential media aide said the days when corruption reigned indiscriminately in Nigeria were over.
“Nothing will return our country to those sad, old days of wanton thievery that have plunged us into the economic mess from which Nigeria is currently recovering. The war against corruption in Nigeria is one of those clashes between good and evil, where good is determined to triumph.”
There have been hues and cries from a section particularly members of the former ruling party, the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) being tried for their alleged involvement in shady deals. They have accused the Buhari administration of witch-hunt, as they claimed the anti-graft crusade was one-sided and targeted at the opposition.
But Garba dismissed the insinuation that members of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) were being spared, saying that all were equal before the law.
Highlighting the various measures introduced to promote transparency by the present administration, Garba disclosed that upon directives by the President, the National Hajj Commission carried out an audit of accommodation agents in both Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia and as result, a saving of over $16 million was being made by the paying pilgrims this year.
“Each Hajj pilgrim is being saved between 600 to 1,000 Saudi Riyals, which is about N60, 000-N100, 000 from accommodation, money that had lined the pockets of agents in the past. This year, houses are being rented directly from owners.”
He commended ordinary citizens for embracing the whistleblower policy by “taking extraordinary risks to expose corruption.”
On the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and the relocation of flight services to Kaduna for the six-weeks, the presidential media aide advised the government and people of Kaduna to devise ways by which the social and economic benefits during the period will not depart the city with the reopening of the airport in Abuja.
“The government of Nigeria has done a big thing for Kaduna. You must show appreciation to this by supporting the administration.”
Referring to the massive cash releases for capital projects in excess of N1 trillion under the 2016 budget, Shehu credited the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola with the record of being the first minister ever to travel on all the federal roads across the nation.
He said in addition to the roads, three of the major projects dear to the president which he is determined to execute include the Mambila Power Project, the Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Calabar and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway modernization projects and the new Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer, which he said is already making an impact by cutting the price of fertilizer to about 50 percent.