Following allegations against the Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, and the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, of corruption, the presidency yesterday said it cannot sack any of its officials on mere allegation without concrete proof.
Orubebe was recently accused of having benefited from a palatial house gift donated to him by a construction company where he lives, while Wogu’s company, it was said, was connected to oil subsidy fraud.
Presidential spokesman Dr. Doyin Okupe said: “These are allegations, if the President fires every minister and any government officials that people allege, I doubt whether 50 percent of the officials will remain. You know how Nigerians are. I am not indicting anybody, I am not saying anybody is wrong or right, but on allegation, the onus is on the person who is alleging to prove, and the President cannot just act based on allegation.
“Government does not work that way and the President is not also deaf. These are events in the last one month and some mechanism must be taking place to internally verify these claims and to actually come up with something. You know that a minister has been sacked in this administration and investigations took place and decisions were taken,” he said.
He said that President Jonathan has developed a heart of stone to tackle corruption, adding that the insinuation in some quarters that the President lacks the political will to fight corruption was false.
Okupe maintained that the online report alleging that $31 billion has been stolen from Jonathan’s administration was not true, pointing out that the vibrancy of Nigeria’s media was what heightens the corruption index of the nation.
He said that the government will take the report of Transparency International report as a wakeup call to fight corruption.
“Government will fight corruption; it will not tolerate corruption and will not punish any man unjustly. By the time the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed into law, Nigeria would have successfully broken the jinx of being a nation where global business rules and practices are flouted with impunity. Estimated annual earnings of 680 billion dollars would be added to our Gross Domestic Product,” Okupe said.