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Anti-corruption: Public Officeholders Must Account for What They Own say ‘Osinbajo’

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Saturday in Lagos that public
officers would now be made to account for their wealth as part of the anti-corruption campaign of the administration. He said the change being
pursued by the government was an existential desire and not a mere
slogan.

Osinbajo spoke during a town hall
meeting held at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, organised by United
Action for Change, a change advocacy group led by National Legal Adviser
of All Progressives Congress, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN).
The vice president, who fielded
questions from a wide range of interest groups from different sectors of
the polity, talked tough on the violence currently being perpetrated by
herdsmen in various parts of the country. He warned that violence of
any sort was no longer acceptable to the Buhari presidency, stating,
“Nobody can enforce any type of right by violence. The use of violence
to dispossess others is unacceptable!”
Osinbajo said henceforth both serving
and former public office holders must have proper explanation for the
sources of their wealth because the era of people becoming emergency
billionaires was over.
“Anybody who can’t explain his wealth
must be brought to account. Everyone who has served in public office
must account for what they own. This is the change we want Nigerians to
support,” he said, adding that the dream of the Buhari government is to
have a “country where integrity is our national culture.”
Osinbajo described corruption as a
collective conspiracy by the Nigerian people, stressing that the vice is
perpetrated by people from different parts of the country. “Nigerians
collaborate well in everything, including corruption,” he said.
The vice president assured that there
were no hidden agenda behind the policies of the government and declared
that at the end of their tenure, Buhari and he would be ready to
present their bank account balances and assets to prove to Nigerians
that they did not abuse their positions.
On the change promised Nigerians,
Osinbajo pleaded that the citizens should be patient with the
administration, saying change is a necessity they are irrevocably
committed to.
He stated, “Nigerians should never lose
hope in the face of the present difficulties. We have the best
opportunity to change this nation now because we have a leader, who is
honest in all his dealings. There is a determination by this government
to change the nation’s direction. The desire for change is existential
and irrevocable.
“You can’t change a nation that is so embroiled in corruption without an honest leader. We are completely committed to change.
“Many things may not be completely
solved, but there is no doubt about the fact that we are working for
change everyday. The president and I have no other agenda but change. At
the end of our tenure, you should look at our bank account balance and
you’d see that we have not corruptly enriched ourselves. The pain is not
going to be the end of the story, but posterity and abundance.”
Osinbajo reiterated the government’s
commitment to the social security schemes promised by the All
Progressives Congress during the last general election. He said the
federal government was committed to a health insurance scheme that would
provide coverage for all Nigerians and assured that the administration
would soon begin to pay the N5,000 monthly stipend promised poor
Nigerians. He explained that a list of one million beneficiaries for a
start was already being compiled across the country with the help of the
World Bank.
Although, the number of beneficiaries
originally envisaged was 25 million, Osinbajo said the present state of
the economy could not fund such a huge figure, hence the decision to
start with one million people, with focus on the elderly and poor
disabled persons who cannot work. He clarified that the extension of the
scheme to undergraduates was not promised by the APC during the
campaigns. He also hinted that the government had begun to work on
employment generation, starting with vocational and technology training
for the youth in different fields.
On the scarcity of petrol, the vice
president pleaded for the understanding of Nigerians and said government
was looking for a lasting solution to the problem. He disclosed that
the main cause of the problems in the sector was the fact that the
refineries were run by government with all the familiar imperfections.
Admitting that private refineries were better run, he said government
was seeking private investments in co-managing the refineries.
On entertainment, Osinbajo said the
industry had developed organically and government was working on
solutions to the menace of piracy. He advocated more collaboration
between the entertainment industry and the government.
He, however, observed that majority of
those in the industry evaded taxes and advised them to change their
attitude towards tax payment.
On the allegations about the removal of
the Lagos-Calabar rail line from this year’s budget, Osinbajo restated
the presidency’s position, saying, “The Lagos-Calabar and Lagos-Kano
rails are in the budget.”
Osinbajo also spoke on the poor state of
power. He noted that Nigeria recorded a peak of 5000 MW in February and
paid outstanding debts, while curtailing acts of vandalism that often
hindered progress in the sector. He observed that the Forcados pipeline
damage caused a drop of about 500MW.
“We are currently working on improving
the supply of gas to power plants and fixing transmission line problems.
We have removed fixed tariff charges. You only pay for what you use. We
are also engaged with labour unions on cost reflective tariffs,” the
vice president stated.
He noted that the Nigeria/China currency
deal would ease business between the two countries by eliminating the
usual dollar frustration.
Osinbajo concluded, “We will continue with the town hall meetings across the country. You will be notified on the next one.”

Earlier, the UAC Convener, Banire, in
his opening remarks, called for continuous support for the change
Nigerians voted for during last year’s general election. He said the
body was “conceived as a vehicle to engage and sensitise Nigerians on
the philosophical and moral significance of change working through its
major platform: Change Nigeria.”​
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