Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday lamented that the country had been badly governed and systematically destroyed.
Speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum, Osinbajo said corruption was responsible for the current state of the nation’s economy.
“This country had been badly governed. We are dealing, for instance, with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15bn in one sector alone. There are those who are asking, ‘why talking about the past?’ 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 $20bn 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,” he stated.
According to him, no country in the world can experience the kind of looting that has taken place in Nigeria without having to deal with the consequences such as the current economic recession.
The vice president, however, assured that “even though the times are hard today, there is great hope that this country will prosper.”
He urged religious leaders in the country to openly condemn graft, saying, “we can’t say because they are Christians or Muslims, we wont condemn those involved in corruption.”
Osinbajo, who said the country had been systematically destroyed, further noted that the Naira depreciated “because we don’t have the reserves to back it. At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings.”
He also decried the destruction of oil pipelines which worsened the situation with the nation losing about one million barrels of oil per day within the past six months and cut in short power supply.
“That is the background for the sort of situation we find ourselves. 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 said.
The vice president argued that the recent GDP figures recently released showed improvements in agriculture and solid minerals.
Osinbajo assured that the social investment programmes of the present administration were on course, saying “very soon, the 500,000 jobs scheme will take off, alongside other schemes.”
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed the security agencies to deal with perpetrators of violence.
“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,” he said.
The vice president also regretted that the nation’s criminal justice system was slow in delivering justice, noting that there is need for justice sector reforms as the system is very slow, not just in some cases, but generally extremely slow, saying for example, it takes for ever before a murder trial gets to court.
The leader of the delegation, Archbishop Daniel, expressed the support of the forum for economic diversification and advocated access to lower interest rates.
He also urged the federal government to check the violent herdsmen, create ranches in the states and promote religious harmony.