The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says that treasury looters are the greatest assaults to the collective human rights of Nigerians.
The minister stated this on Monday in Abuja at the inauguration of Human Rights Radio founded by the Managing Director of Premier Broadcasting Ltd. and anchor of ‘Embelembe’ radio programme, Ahmed Isa.
He said, “The greatest assaults to our collective human rights are those people who have stolen our money.
“They are those people who have pocketed the money meant for roads, water, power and medical care.
“Those are the people who have assaulted our collective human rights, who have reduced the average Nigerians to nothingness and humiliated this country.”
The minister said that the Federal Government’s unwavering anti-corruption fight is therefore geared towards the protection of the collective human rights of Nigerians.
He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to support the anti-corruption war for the country to attain its developmental goals.
Mohammed specifically urged Nigerians to assist the government in its whistle blowing policy by exposing treasury looters and rights violators.
He said, “The whistle blowing policy is a very simple policy through which we encourage Nigerians who have any information about the violation of our rights, commission of a crime, fraud or corruption or any Nigerian who knows where certain money is being held or kept to anonymously contact us.
“We will protect his or her identity and if the information leads to the recovery of money, he or she will be entitled to 2.5 per cent or 5 per cent of the money recovered.
“We have three channels of passing the information which could be through dedicated SMS, a portal and an e-mail address and all of them are secured.”
The minister said that within two months of declaration of the policy of whistle blowers, the government has been able to recover $160m and N8bn.
He said the $9.7m kept in an uncompleted house in Kaduna by a former Group Managing Director of NNPC was recovered through the policy.
He said, “Somebody gave us the information, we went there and saw the money loaded in fridges and boxes and the owners has admitted that the money belong to him.
“He said the money was given to him by friends after he retired and we want those friends to come forward.”
He added that $136m, N7 bn and another N1m were respectively recovered from banks also as a result of cooperation of whistle blowers.
He said, “I want to put on record that the fellow through whom we recovered N1bn in an account told us he does not want any commission from government because that is his contribution to the country.
“But, I can assure you that we are not going to renege on our promise to the appropriate commission to anyone who give us information that leads to recovery of money through this policy.”
Mohammed noted that the challenge facing the nation’s economy was as a result of the alleged looting by the previous administration.
He said government would remain determined and focused to end the difficult times the people were passing through.
The minister commended Isa for his initiative and perseverance in establishing the first ever Human Right Radio, adding that the station would complement government`s efforts in protecting peoples’ rights.
The Chairman of the event and the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, said that the judiciary would partner with the radio station in enhancing the peoples’ rights.
Onnoghen, who was represented by the Chief Judge of FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello, commended the founder of the radio for his vision, perseverance and commitment to the cause of the poor in the society.
Earlier, in an address of welcome, Isa said the inauguration of the station was a dream come true and he would continue to use the platform to support humanity.
He said the station which would be committed to human rights in contents, is a trail blazer being the first of its kind in the entire globe.