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Corruption: FG says TI interfering; “we are not opposition,” NGO fires back

The Federal Government has warned the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International (TI) and local civil society organisations affiliated to it, to stop frustrating its anti corruption fight.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the admonition when he received a TI delegation, led by the Chair of the body’s International Board, Delia Rubio, in Abuja on Friday.

A statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi, said the Minister specifically told the global anti-corruption body to support, rather than condemning the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s fight against corruption.

He said TI and the local civil society organisations affiliated to it had not offered the necessary support to the administration, rather, they look at the actions of an aberrant few to condemn the government.

To buttress his position, the minister said the body alleged bias when the government disclosed that just 55 people stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013

He added that when the government published the list of looters, in response to a challenge from the opposition, a section of the civil society was busy parroting the cliche that the allegations were one-sided.

Mohammed said Nigeria was succeeding in its anti-corruption fight because the fight was being led by a President whose integrity is beyond reproach.
“As a policy, this government is the most committed to fighting corruption.

“Nigeria has never had a more transparent, more accountable government than the Buhari Administration.

“Even his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption,” he said.

Mohammed noted that the Administration was not just fighting corruption with laws and prosecution, but also with education and inclusiveness in government.

He cited the government’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ programme as an example of efforts being made to achieve attitudinal change among the citizenry.

The minister also explained that Nigeria operates a federal system of government under which the federal government has no control over the actions of the federating states.

He alleged that corrupt persons were using looted funds to mount a virulous campaign against the administration, especially in the social media, because they know that the re-election of the President will spell doom for them.

The Minister, therefore, tasked TI and its affiliates to show more understanding for the sociological complexities of fighting corruption in the country.
He also solicited the support of TI and its affiliates in the area of advocacy and capacity building.

For her part, the TI global chair said she decided to visit Nigeria, her first-ever visit to Africa, because the country could set the tone for the continent in the fight against corruption.

She said TI’s mandate was to offer support through civil society organisations and the private sector to foster the fight against corruption.

She said while the government was doing a lot to fight corruption, it should ensure more transparency and more efficiency in service delivery.

”We are not an opposition anywhere in the world.

“We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help,” she said.

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