The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government will not be intimidated by criticisms from those opposed to the Executive Order No. 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 5.
The executive order empowers the Federal Government to temporarily seize landed properties suspected to be proceeds of financial crimes to prevent them from being sold before the outcome of court cases.
Mohammed, who addressed journalists in Lagos, said the opposition to the order was expected as it had sent jitters into the camp of the corrupt persons and their cohorts.
He said, “As you are aware, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared a national emergency on corruption, with the signing on July 5, 2018 of the Presidential Executive Order No. 6 of 2018.
“Summarised, Executive Order No. 6 of 2018 aims to, among others, restrict dealings in suspicious assets subject to investigation or inquiry bordering on corruption in order to preserve such assets from dissipation, and to deprive alleged criminals of the proceeds of their illicit activities which can otherwise be employed to allure, pervert and/or intimidate the investigative and judicial processes.
“This is the administration’s most potent weapon against corruption till date! Expectedly, there have been pockets of opposition to this executive order. Those opposed to it say it is unconstitutional, dictatorial and amounts to the usurpation of the powers of the legislature and the judiciary.
“The truth is that having realised the potency of the order in giving muscle to the fight against corruption – which by the way is one of the three cardinal program of our Administration – the corrupt and their cohorts have become jittery. They have every reason to be. Henceforth, it won’t be business as usual.
“For starters, this executive order will immediately affect 155 high-profile corruption cases. The aggregate value of funds involved in these ongoing cases is N595,409,838,452.25. This is a huge amount by any standard. It is higher than the N500bn allotted to the administration’s Social Investment Program in the 2018 budget and the N344bn allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of roads nationwide in the 2018 budget.”
The minister said Buhari thought it necessary to sign the executive order at this time to further give impetus to his administration’s anti-graft campaign.
He said the President had the power to do so under Section 5 of the constitution, adding that Buhari was not the only President to have signed an executive order.