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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Nigeria Has Been Badly Governed, But Now There Is Hope – VP Osinbajo

Image result for VP Osinbajo
Despite the bad governance Nigeria has experienced in the past, there is hope for the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo affirmed in Abuja on Tuesday.  
He made the assertion while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum in his office at the Presidential Villa, vice-presidential spokesman Laolu Akande said in a press statement.  
Prof. Osinbajo assured his guests that even though the times are hard today, there is great hope Nigeria will prosper.
He stressed that no country in the world could face the kind of stealing that has taken place in Nigeria without confronting the consequences, such as the current economic challenges.
On how badly Nigeria was governed before this administration, he spoke about
the embezzlement of about $15B in one sector alone, presumably referring to the scandal in the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
In response to those who challenge the current government concerning its references to the past, he said it was important to do that, as that is why the current government is here.  
“We have not turned attention to the oil and gas sector, where the former CBN Governor alleged that $20B was stolen,” he said, but did not explain why. “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, adding, “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 was “systematically destroyed.” 
Of the Naira, 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 worsened the situation with the country losing about 1m barrels of oil per day in the past six months, adding that the vandals equally cut power supply short as gas pipelines were destroyed.
“That is the background for the sort of situation we find ourselves,” Prof Osinbajo asserted.  He however expressed renewed hope, saying: “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 recent GDP figures released last week indicated clearly there is growth in agriculture and solid minerals, with the sectors of agriculture and solid minerals witnessing improvements.
He further stated that the government’s social investment programmes are on course, and that the 500,000 jobs scheme, alongside others, will take off shortly.
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 anyone who causes or 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 pointed that generally the country’s criminal justice system is rather slow in delivering justice, adding that there is need for justice sector reforms.

“The justice system is very slow, not just in some cases, but generally extremely slow,” he said. “For example it takes forever before a murder trial gets to court.”