Says corruption must be tackled by all for country to make progress
*Urges religious leaders to continue to preach peace, work for the country’s unity
The prudent management of resources by the Buhari administration has helped it achieve far more in terms of infrastructure and development than previous administrations, while it has invested heavily on social protection, the largest in the country’s history, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this at a public lecture organized by the Council of Chief of Imams, Ikeja Division in Lagos on Saturday.
The Vice President also stated the determination of the administration in its fight against corruption, noting that it was a major challenge which had slowed the country’s development in the past.
He added that the Buhari administration has spent over N2.7 trillion on capital expenditure in the last three years, pointing out that it is the highest amount ever spent on capital in the history of Nigeria.
The Vice President listed some of the infrastructure projects to include, among others, the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway, the Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway and the Second Niger Bridge.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, the Buhari administration has been able to achieve this through prudent management of resources, despite earning 60% revenue less than the previous administration when the price of crude oil was high.
“Despite earning 60% less revenue, we are spending more on infrastructure in this government, from roads, rails to power,” he said.
The Vice President also said that components of the administration’s Social Investment Programme have impacted the lives of millions of Nigerians.
He explained that through the N-Power Programme, 500,000 young graduates have been engaged by the Federal Government in different areas of public service.
He said similar successes have been recorded in the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP (which includes the TraderMoni Scheme), the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, and the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, which currently feeds over nine million public primary school pupils in 26 states.
Speaking on the impact of the TraderMoni scheme – the N10,000 interest- and collateral-free loans to petty traders nationwide, the Vice President said two million petty traders nationwide will benefit from the microcredit scheme by the end of the year.
He adds, “If the N60 billion that was part of the sum looted from the nation’s treasury in the past, was given out to these traders, 6m petty traders would have been beneficiaries.”
Prof. Osinbajo said at the inception of the administration, over 23 states in Nigeria owed salaries of between three to 12 months, which necessitated the Federal Government giving the states bailout funds to pay their workers.
He said the Buhari administration was also confronted with the drop in Nigeria’s crude oil production of 2.2 million bpd, coming down to around 1 million bpd as a result of the restiveness in the Niger Delta Region.
Speaking further, the Vice President stated that the struggle in Nigeria is that between good and evil, and not between religions.
“I want to say to you that it’s a battle between good and evil. What we are fighting for in this country is a battle between good and evil, it is not a battle between religions. Corruption is our major challenge. The people that steal Nigeria’s resources are both Christians and Muslims,” he said.
During the event, a public lecture titled: “The Role of Muslim Leaders in the South West Towards achieving Peaceful and Successful 2019 Elections,” the Vice President highlighted some of the programmes and projects of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration since its inception in May 2015.
The Vice President advised the religious leaders to continue to admonish their followers to embrace peace and work for the unity of the country.
The first paper at the lecture was presented by Prof. Ishaq Lakin Akintola, the Director-General, Muslim Rights Concern, while Dr. Saheed Timehin, a senior lecturer at the Lagos State University, presented the second paper.