Nigerian govt says Executive Order 6, not political witch-hunt


lai mohammed
The Federal Government on Wednesday in London clarified that the implementation of Executive Order 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari has nothing to do with 2019 general elections.
Fabmimi had reported that the federal government had released a 50 high-profile names of prominent individuals banning them from any foreign travel.
The government, however, disclosed the decision became necessary so that these individual could face their various corruption allegations which have been pending in various courts across the country.
Making further clarifications on the order at the Chatham House, a UK based Royal Institute of International Affairs chaired by Alex Vines (OMR), The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the Order was being misconstrue by naysayers and those who were beneficiaries of the past corruption laden regimes.
“The facts are very simple. Sometimes in July, the President, in exercise of his constitutional powers signed the Executive Order 6 to strengthen the anti- corruption fight.
“In that order, the various corruption cases being investigated were listed and appendix.
“As soon as the Order was proclaimed, some people went to court to challenge it.
“Because of the pending case, the government suspended its implementation.
“But last week, the court ruled in favour of government and the government said that it is time to start its implementation,’’ he said.
The minister said the Order was not about travel ban on identified 50 Nigerians and political oppositions as reported.
He said “the government believed that you cannot fight corruption, if you allow the perpetrators of corruption to use the proceeds to compromise investigation or its outcome.
“What the Order says is that if someone is alleged to have used the proceeds of corruption to buy a house , that person will not be allowed to dispose of the property, travel during the time of trial or do anything that will destroy the outcome o the case,’’ he said.
The minister noted that many of the listed corruption cases in the Order were instituted by previous administrations and inherited by the present government.
He said some of the cases dated back to between 2006 and 2015, when 55 Nigerians allegedly embezzled N1.3 trillion.
Mohammed said that the topic for his presentation was apt, coming at a time the country was struggling to forge a national consensus, accept its diverse ethnic groups as the source of its national power and cohesion.
He noted that national unity was imperative because without a united country, all its component parts would be working at cross purposes and conflicting signals that would constantly threaten the foundation and the existence of the country.
The minister used the forum to explain the mandate of his ministry, the achievements and challenges.
“At the Ministry of Information and Culture, where my job definition includes speaking for the Federal Government both within and outside the country, we are taking our mandate very seriously.
“We ensure that the people get, and consistently too, the detailed information they require to enhance their participation in the political process and, ultimately, to help deepen the nation’s democracy,’’ he said.
Vines, the Chairman of Chatham House who moderated the event disclosed that the global organisation is partnering with Nigeria to address the challenge of social corruption.
The event was attended by Nigeria High Commissioner to UK, retired Justice George Oguntade, Cyprus High Commissioner to UK,  Euripides Evrimades, members of Nigerians in Diaspora and Chatham House Think Tanks, among others.