Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says he has many libel cases filed against him by Nigerians.
Mohammed disclosed this on Friday while featuring on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show.
The minister said the Nigerian government has not relented in its prosecution of politicians and former government officials charged with various corrupt allegations.
He said, “We are on course; we are very much on course. The programmes of activities that the various anti-corruption agencies of government such as the ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission) and the Code of Conduct Bureau have been embarked upon.
“But more importantly is that when people talk about corruption, a lot of corruption comes when the system is opaque, not transparent. That is why we were able to identify that 40 percent of the scoring methodology is around the ease of doing business and unless you address that, you will also be scoring low. That is why we embarked on ports reforms. Ports reforms are very important, it will be slow but it will help the narratives.
“In addition to these preventive measures in the system, we have not halted the prosecution of high-profile Nigerians who are involved in fraud, we’ve not stopped. Of course, some of these things are not what you can say on air because as I speak today, I have various libel cases against me but I know that we have not stopped but we should not focus our attention on the high-profile cases.
“Corruption is something that is a bit systemic and that is why we are taking that approach from the very beginning.”
Mohammed has in the past made allegations that he failed to substantiate, particularly against members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
For instance, in January 2016, Mohammed said 55 people who were government ministers, state governors, public officials, bankers and businessmen stole “1.34 trillion naira ($6.8 billion )” from Nigeria’s public purse over a seven-year period.
“This is the money that a few people, just 55 in number, allegedly stole,” said Mohammed, adding “the time to act is now” to address what he called “Nigeria’s war”.
He gave a breakdown which included the theft of N147 billion ($742.42 million) by 15 former state governors, N524 billion ($2.65 billion) by bankers and N7 billion ($35.35 million) he said was stolen by four former ministers.
“If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria,” added Mohammed, who did not provide any proof to support the figures he provided.