By Rotimi Ijikanmi
London – The Federal Government clarified on Wednesday in London that the implementation of Executive Order 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari has nothing to do with 2019 general elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the clarification at the Chatham House, a UK-based Royal Institute of International Affairs chaired by Dr Alex Vines (OMR).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the global body has the objectives to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world, through informed debate, independent analysis, new policy ideas, and outreach to audiences.
Mohammed, who made a presentation on the topic: “Nigeria’s National Unity: Towards Participation and Shared Values”, stressed that the Order was to strengthen the anti-corruption fight of the administration and not to witch-hunt any political opponents.
He said that the Order was being misconstrued by naysayers and those who were beneficiaries of the past corruption laden regimes.
“The facts are very simple. Sometimes in July, the President, in the exercise of his constitutional powers signed the Executive Order 6 to strengthen the anti-corruption fight.
“In that order, the various corruption cases being investigated were listed and appendix.
“As soon as the Order was proclaimed, some people went to court to challenge it.
“Because of the pending case, the government suspended its implementation.
“But last week, the court ruled in favour of government and the government said that it is time to start its implementation,” he said.
The minister said that the Order was not about travel ban on identified 50 Nigerians and political oppositions as reported.
“The government believed that you cannot fight corruption, if you allow the perpetrators of corruption to use the proceeds to compromise investigation or and its outcome.
“What the Order says is that if someone is alleged to have used the proceed of corruption to buy a house, that person will not be allowed to dispose of the property, travel during the time if trial or do anything that will destroy the outcome o the case,” he said.
The minister noted that many of the listed corruption cases in the Order were instituted by previous administrations and inherited by the present government.
He said that some of the cases dated back to between 2006 to 2015, when 55 Nigerians allegedly embezzles N1.3 trillion.
Mohammed said that the topic for his presentation was apt, coming at a time the country was struggling to forge a national consensus, accept its diverse ethnic groups as the source of its national power and cohesion
He said that national unity was imperative because without a united country, all its component parts would be working at cross purposes and conflicting signals that would constantly threaten the foundation and the existence of the country.
The minister used the forum to explain the mandate of his ministry, the achievements and challenges.
“At the Ministry of Information and Culture, where my job definition includes speaking for the Federal Government, both within and outside the country, we are taking our mandate very seriously.
“We ensure that the people get, and consistently too, the detailed information they require to enhance their participation in the political process and, ultimately, to help deepen the nation’s democracy,” he said.
Vines, the Chairman of Chatham House who moderated the event, disclosed that the global organisation was partnering with Nigeria to address the challenge of social corruption.
The event was attended by Nigeria High Commissioner to UK, retired Justice George Oguntade, Cyprus High Commissioner to UK, Euripides Evrimades, members of Nigerians in Diaspora and Chatham House Think Tanks, among others. (NAN)