‘Buhari has not said people should not steal’ — Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, admitted on Wednesday that corruption was still an issue in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Speaking on the administration’s fight against corruption, Amaechi said, “Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced”.

The transport minister said this in Abuja during an interactive session with the media on the ministry’s achievements.

He said the Buhari administration has achieved a lot on security, road, fight against corruption, agriculture and transportation, adding that Buhari was tackling herdsmen-related killings.

Amaechi said Nigerians will enjoy 24 hours of power supply if President Buhari is reelected.

“There is an improvement in power. We have moved from 3000 megawatts to 7000 but we are distributing 5000 because some of the infrastructure are not in good state but we are slowly fixing them.

“The expectation is that it should be 24 hours power supply but there will still be a gap but if you give us a second term, that gap will be closed.

“In terms of corruption; this economy was a rent economy. Public money was spent anyhow and it was an economy that was not worked hard for. That is why you see politicians today very rich and one year after leaving government, they are poor.

“They are like that because they don’t know how to manage the money. When Buhari came, he said we could not continue to spend anyhow. Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced. So if you say Buhari has not done anything on corruption, you are being most unfair.”

He said 2015 budget had only six percent allocated to capital expenditure but the current administration is doing 20 percent.

 

Amaechi said that in the next two to three years, government will allocate up to 30 percent for capital expenditure, if the recurrent expenditure is reduced and wastage is fixed.

“It is also unfair if Nigerians think the ministry of works is not working. The road to Bonny was abandoned after Obasanjo left government, the road was below N39 billion but it is now N120 billion that the federal government wants to do it.

“So, Buhari government is dealing with corruption, building roads, the worst roads in Nigeria used to be between Uyo and Calabar but it has been awarded.

“The road to Enugu too that people are complaining about: contractors are working on the roads already. The work may be slow but they are working. Also the Ilorin-Jebba road has been awarded.

Amaechi also reacted to the Chinese scholarships scandal for the first time.

He and other officials in the government had been accused of diverting rail transport engineering scholarships offered by a Chinese construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The scholarship involved the sponsorship of over 40 Nigerian undergraduate students in Chinese universities to study railway engineering which the company said was part of its CSR.

Speaking on the scandal, he said, “the answer to this thing is simple, CCECC has granted us scholarship, how they got their candidates, ask them. I’ve seen the first batch in China. Instead of asking how we chose the candidates, they should ask us about the policy”.

“The policy is that when they come they build roads. Rivers state government house is still being maintained by Julius Berger, is that good? It’s something that any Nigerian should be able to maintain.

“To maintain that place, Julius Berger comes every day and they are paid every month. The month you don’t pay them, you won’t see them.

“If you allow the railway people go without them providing scholarship, when they finish and they go, when the train breaks down you will see that the workers would be sweating but we are very sure that at the end of the day before the Chinese leaves they must have trained our men to take over this thing and that is what is critical not how we chose the candidates,” he said.

“I think the CCECC complied with the law, they did not break any law.”

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