The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that twenty one people benefited from the arms funds allegedly diverted and disbursed by Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA) during a meeting with online media publishers in Lagos.
It will be recalled that on Monday, the minister also revealed that 55 people stole N1.34trn from the public till in seven years. Speaking with publishers in the online media, Mohammed assured them that the federal government would not regulate their practice in the country, but urged them to self-regulate.
“If the online publications suffer credibility problems, they stand the risk of losing the confidence of their readers and the advertisers who provide the lifeblood for the publications’ survival,” he said.
The minister promised that the federal government would patronise the online media through adverts, saying: “All we ask for, in return, is that you provide accurate information to the people, and avoid sensationalism and partisanship.”
He sought the publishers’ support to ensure the success of the government’s campaign against corruption. “The national security awareness campaign, aimed at rallying the support of Nigerians for the war on terror, is ongoing.
Also, the national sensitisation campaign against corruption was formally launched in Abuja on Monday, and it is aimed at rallying Nigerians against the cankerworm of corruption, which has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. We are also preparing to launch a national re-orientation campaign, which is tagged ‘change begins with me’, to achieve a paradigm shift in the way we do things,” Mohammed said.
Describing the war against corruption as one of the cardinal programmes of the Buhari administration, he said: “Some have said the government is dwelling too much on the war against corruption to the detriment of other areas of governance. Our response to that is that indeed, there is nothing like dwelling too much on this war, which is a war of survival for our nation.
“The situation is grim, very grim indeed, as far as corruption is concerned. That is why the federal government is embarking on this sensitisation campaign our approach is not to vilify anyone but to use facts and figures to give Nigerians a sense of the cost of corruption.” Giving an analysis of the number of those who benefitted from the funds allegedly collected from the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) and funds allocated for the 2015 zonal Intervention projects, he said:
“The amount received by 21 individuals and companies from ONSA is more than the 2015 zonal intervention project budget by N2.829bn. “Whereas the sum of N51.829bn was appropriated for 1,278 projects in the zonal intervention projects for 2015, a total of 21 individuals and companies benefited from the Dasukigate to the tune of N54.659bn as we know so far.
“The implication, therefore, is that the amount received by 21 individuals and companies is more than the 2015 zonal intervention project budget by N2.829bn.
“Furthermore, the value of what beneficiaries of Dasukigate contributed to development is zero, compared to how the lives of Nigerians would have been transformed, poverty reduced and livelihoods improved by the zonal intervention projects which would have cost N2.829bn less than Dasukigate.”