Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured Nigerians that Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl abducted by Islamist sect, Boko Haram will be released sooner than later.
Prof Osinbajo who was speaking during an interview with Bond FM 92.9 in Lagos, said the government was working frantically to secure her release as well as that of others.
Osinbajo who is seeking re-election in office alongside President Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) stressed that, there was never a time the government was not actively working on her release.
“There was never a time that the government stopped working on the release of Leah Sharibu and the other girls that were abducted by the sect.”
VP Osinbajo said the government is optimistic of her return. “There are people who act as middle men who know how to reach out to them. The govt will get Leah Sharibu and the others back from Boko Haram,” he added.
The Vice President who spoke in Yoruba language addressed other questions that were asked by the presenters and listeners; including that of Islamization of Nigeria, TraderMoni and corruption.
Prof Osinbajo reiterated that President Buhari does not have any intentions to Islamize Nigeria, detailing how he refused to join the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“He rejected the offer to join OIC as a military head of state without a national assembly to stop him. It was General Ibrahim Babangida who later joined the organization where Nigeria is still a member,” he said.
He also noted that it was during former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Nigeria had 12 states that became Sharia states. “Just imagine that it was during this government that 12 States began to practice Sharia law, they would have said he was planning to Islamize Nigeria.
“Let me tell you something, no one can Islamize Nigeria and certainly President Buhari is the kind of man to do such a thing,” he said.
Reacting to claims and speculations that TraderMoni is vote buying, Prof Osinbajo said, “The first person to say TraderMoni is vote buying is Senate President Bukola Saraki but if we want to be sincere, we must understand it is the Senate and House of Representatives that agreed to TraderMoni and passed it in the budget.
“There is no sincerity in that allegation,” Osinbajo said before explaining the process by which petty traders are registered for TraderMoni.
“When you go to markets, you will see enumerators who will take personal data, take pictures and visit the stall of the petty trader before their applications are processed. The money is for petty traders and the money is sent to their phones, it is not disbursed in cash,” he said.
Osinbajo then explained that the Federal Government decided to embark on TraderMoni because petty traders account for the chunk of traders in Nigeria.
“With two weeks to the 2015 election, the former government withdrew $292m from the Central Bank of Nigeria and it was shared amongst themselves. Today, $292m is N80bn, while on the money disbursed for TraderMoni is just N20bn, if we had all this money, we would reach more petty traders,” he said.
He explained claims that he personally handed N10,000 to market women were totally false. “The programme is handled by the Bank of Industry. They are the ones in charge of disbursement as well.
Prof Osinbajo then gave TraderMoni beneficiaries phone numbers to call if they cannot access their fund after registration. He said, “The numbers to call are 0700100200 and 07006275386,” urging beneficiaries to make complaints directly.