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Economy: Recession will be over soon, says Osinbajo

Written by Maritime First
  • ICPC seizes 62 houses from female govt official

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has assured Nigerians that the current economic recession will soon become history. He said in a statement on Tuesday that “with complete focus on improving the economy every day, the recession will soon be history.”

While referring to Monday’s protests in different parts of the country against the economic hardship in the country, Osinbajo commended the Inspector General of Police and his officers for handling the protests with professionalism and respect for the rights of the citizens.

He said, “We are committed to a continuous engagement with our people to explain government policies, and receive advice and criticism. “Cabinet ministers have gone round eight states so far, holding town hall meetings, the most recent was in Ilorin yesterday (Monday). There will be more of such meetings in the other states that are yet to be visited.”

At the Ilorin town hall meeting, which was organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Federal Government gave an assurance that the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja would be ready in six weeks from the date of its closure.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who gave the assurance, added that there was no way the government would not close the airport for the needed repairs. Amaechi, who acknowledged the pains the closure of the airport would cause the economy, however, maintained that his ministry would ensure its immediate reopening after the rehabilitation had been concluded in six weeks.

A statement signed by the minister, which was made available to our correspondent, said the NAIA runway was designed to last for 20 years. But he regretted that it had lasted for 34 years, adding that it must be fixed now in order to make it better.

Amaechi said, “We are saying that the Abuja airport’s runway was built to last for 20 years but we have been using it for 34 years. It has become extremely dangerous to continue using it the way it is right now. We need to close it to reconstruct it. “The foundation is almost gone and what we are asking for is patience. If we don’t close it, we will be exposing lives to danger. One of the constitutional responsibilities of the President is to protect lives and property.

“So, you can’t deny us that responsibility. We believe that if we close it by March, in six weeks’ time, we shall be able to reopen it. We know it is challenging for our economy. We think that we will keep to that six weeks.” While explaining issues concerning maritime, particularly in the North Central region, Amaechi noted that his ministry was determined to inaugurate the Baro River Port by the first quarter of next year.

In the meantime, the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mr Ekpo Nta, said, yesterday, that his agency has seized no fewer than 62 houses from a female public officer.

Nta, who disclosed this at an interactive session in Akwa Ibom State anti-corruption summit, with the theme, Transparency and Accountability: A panacea to good governance and sustainable development, said the commission had interim power to seize property of any public officer who could not explain the source of money to acquire such property.

The ICPC boss said the property would be forfeited to the Federal Government after all litigations had been concluded. Nta, who warned public officeholders not live above their income, said:  “There are many facets of corruption in Nigeria.   The commission will stop at nothing to bring anyone found to have contravened the anti-corruption crusade to book.”

He added that the commission had successfully retrieved 40 vehicles that were stolen by retired directors of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and warned against trivialising the anti-graft war of the current administration.

Nta further said that the commission was prosecuting over 400 corruption cases in different courts in the country, adding that those found guilty at the end of the investigation would be made to face the full wrath of the law. He said the commission had taken a step further by launching the campaigns in institutions of higher learning and the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC).

He explained that the anti-corruption module had since been introduced into the curriculum of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), adding such measures would go a long way toward entrenching moral values in students.

Nta said the commission had launched anti-corruption clubs in orientation camps, disclosing that such measures had assisted the commission to detect and arrested about 42 fake corps members at orientation camps in the recent times.

In his remarks, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, noted that corruption had eaten deep into the fabrics of the country, and urged all and sundry to be in the vanguard of curbing the menace of corruption, if the country must move forward. “We must change our mindsets about the way we do things in Nigeria,” he said.

Punch with additional report from Vanguard

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Maritime First