There is no country in the world that can face the kind of stealing that has taken place in Nigeria without having to deal with the consequences, including the current state of the economy.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, made this assertion on Tuesday while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum in his office at the Presidential Villa.
Osinbajo, however, assured his visitors that though the times are hard today, “there is great hope that this country will prosper”.
According to him: “This country has been badly governed.
“We are dealing for instance with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15 billion in one sector alone.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo observed that there are those who are asking why talking about the past and he posed a response: “We have to.
“That is why we are here.
“We have not turned attention to the oil and gas sector, where the former CBN Governor alleged that $20 billion was stolen.
“We must condemn and stand up against this level of corruption.
“It is the single most important reason of the current state of the country.
“We can’t ignore it.”
The Vice President then called on Christian and religious leaders generally in the country to condemn corruption “openly”.
He added: “We can’t say because they are Christians or Muslims we won’t condemn those involved in corruption.”
Responding to the views of the leader of the delegation, Archbishop John Praise Daniel, that members of the forum have been actively involved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the VP said indeed the “country has been systematically destroyed”.
He explained: “Our currency depreciated because we don’t have the reserves to back it.
“At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings.”
In addition to the massive fall in oil prices, the VP stated that the vandalization of pipelines has led to a worsening of the situation, with the country loosing about one million barrels of oil per day for up to six months now.
The vandalism has equally cut power supply short since gas pipelines were also destroyed, he added.
“That is the background for the sort of situation we find ourselves,” Prof. Osinbajo asserted while expressing renewed hope that “God surely has a plan for this country.
“We (as a government) are open, honest, transparent and we shall use the resources of this country very well.”
He pointed out that the Gross Domestic Product figures released last week indicated clearly there is growth in agriculture and solid minerals.
According to him: “Agric and solid minerals have witnessed improvements.”
The social investment programmes, according to the Vice President, are on course, reassuring the nation “that very soon the 500,000 jobs scheme will take off” alongside other schemes.
Earlier, Archbishop Daniel expressed the support of the forum for the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Buhari Presidency, while calling for access to lower interest rates.
The forum also asked the Federal Government to checkmate the violent herdsmen, create ranches in the states and promote religious harmony.
Responding, the Vice President noted that President Buhari has given clear instructions to the security agencies to deal with anyone regardless of status who carries arms and also deal with anyone that causes and perpetrates violence of any kind.
“The President has said twice in the past fortnight that anyone who commits atrocities must be arrested and tried and he has demonstrated that resolve,” Prof Osinbajo said.
He however added that generally the country’s criminal justice system is rather slow in delivering justice, adding that there is need for justice sector reforms.
His words: “The justice system is very slow, not just in some cases, but generally extremely slow.
“For example it takes for ever before a murder trial gets to court.”