- Says it is “a normal thing”
Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh, has said that the disclosure of the names of alleged treasury looters by the Federal Government is not in anyway a diversionary tactic from the challenges besetting the nation.
Momoh said it was a political decision taken by the current administration to make the list available to ordinary Nigerians.
Momoh, speaking with Daily Sun, explained that the name were disclosed to the public in order to meet the yearnings of Nigerians who have been asking for a list.
The Federal Government had last week controversially named high profile persons alleged to have embezzled Nigeria’s Federation Account, particularly during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Momoh, the Yerima of Auchi Kingdom, recalled that Nigerians had at different times called for the naming of looters of the country’s treasury.
“The fact is, if people said people should release those they said were accused of diverting our money and then they released it, is it not now that they have released [the names] that people now know that ‘this is involved’, ‘this is involved’,” Momoh asked.
He continued that “It is a question of [whether to] release the list or not to release the list.
“Don’t forget that Nigerians have been asking him [President Buhari] to release the list. People have been saying ‘release, release, release, release’.
“If they said ‘release’ and they now take a decision to release, obviously, people will say ‘you are not even releasing enough’. So, it is a question of political decision to release,” Momoh said.
On criticisms from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the Federal Government did not name any of its own party members in the alleged looters list, Momoh said it was a simple question of disclosure.
Momoh added that he who disclosed the list, decided what to disclose.
He further said there were so many things happening in the country which, if any government decides to disclose, no government will lack.
“So, the whole of the political arena, the political scene, what is happening behind the doors of governance, they are there in the crates that contain secret documents,” Momoh said.
“That is why you have classified matter and government can disclose at anytime. When you have so much happening and so little known, then you can see why people say that the people want to know and they have a right to know.
“This exercise of disclosure is one of the areas of government trying to let the people know what has always been hidden.
“So, it is a normal thing. It is called ‘communication’. The more people know, the better they are informed about monitoring governance.”
Meanwhile, Momoh, a former National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), has said he is too old to vie for the chairmanship of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Momoh’s comment followed last Sunday’s publication by a national daily that the ruling party will be looking at the South South geopolitical zone for its choice of national chairman upon the expiration of the tenure of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in June.
But Momoh, who clocks 79 on April 29, said: “No way! What am I doing? I will be 79 on the 27th of April. So, I have paid my dues.”