Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed

By Oladipupo Mojeed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said the economic challenges being faced by Nigerian is as a result of corruption.

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Mohammed however, said that the everyone is all victims of corruption.

He insisted that it consists actions that are often clandestine and practices that those who perpetrate it always try to conceal and it is now acknowledged that many of our political, social and especially economic problems in Nigeria is traceable to corruption.

Also the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN says that corruption more than anything else is the biggest impediments to national development.

Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said the AGF stated this in his keynote address at the 1st Meeting of the National Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Isah disclosed that the Minister re-emphasised President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to making governance more open, accountable and responsive to the citizenry.

“In May, 2016 the President attended the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the government of United Kingdom where he reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening anti-corruption reforms through implementing programs aimed at: Exposing Corruption, Punishing the corrupt and providing support to victims who has suffered from corruption and thirdly, Driving out the culture of corruption”.

Malami reiterated that the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation, which Nigeria formally joined the initiative as the 70th country in July 2016.

Open government partnership

He disclosed that President Buhari has approved the Open Government Partnership National Steering Committee of which the Federal Ministry of Justice is coordinating, adding that it consists of representatives of the government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) as well as Civil Society Organisations, Organised private sector and professional associations.

The AGF explained that these group representing various institutions have worked together to co-create a two-year National Action Plan (NAP) to mainstream transparency mechanisms in the management of public funds across all sectors and citizen engagement.

Malami expressed that, in the area of open contracting, the President has recently approved Executive Orders to improve transparency in government contracting, surmising that amongst other achievements is the Whistle Blowers Policy which the Federal Ministry of Finance just issued to enable voluntary disclosure of stolen assets.

According to Malami , the government, through the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is working on adopting a technology based citizens’ feedback on projects and programs within the OGP framework.

In his remark at the occasion, the minister of information pointed out that corruption is not a victimless crime; everyone is all victims of corruption.

He assured that the government intentions were not to witch hunt anyone but to let Nigerians know what is the cost of corruption in their lives.

Mohammed further stated that town hall meetings were conducted for the purpose of the Ministers to give accounts of their achievements and that there were no censored questions.

He added that following the town hall meeting, the FG introduced the campaign for Change Begins with Me, which cut across all ethnicity affirming his Ministry’s commitment to work with OGP.