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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

TSA saga: Lai Mohammed, Fayose’s aide in verbal war

THE Special Assistant to Ekiti State Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, has said the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is unfit to speak for any government.

Olayinka, who was reacting to a statement by the minister that Governor Ayodele Fayose and others kicking against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy should return to elementary school, said it was shameful that Alhaji Mohammed left the main issue and chose to attack personalities.

This is even as the minister insisted yesterday that the funds in the TSA remain intact while reacting to Olayinka’s report.

He said; “Now that Daddy Lai Mohammed has been elevated to the position of the spokesperson of the Federal Government of Nigeria, he needs to be purged of the All Progressives Congress (APC) basket mouth syndrome that made him to speak like a tout.”

He said the Federal Government must tell Nigerians why and how it mortgaged their existence to a single company that has made what no manufacturing companies with thousands of employees can make in one month.

Ekiti State under Governor Fayose is managing its finances perfectly well without the Treasury Single Account, which is obviously aimed at enriching a few individuals at the expense of Nigerians,” he noted.

He advised President Buhari to urgently de-brief Mohammed so that he will operate as a spokesperson of the government and not APC propagandist.

Olayinka said; “At 63, Mohammed should know that speaking for the government is different from speaking for the APC.

“He should know that opposition is a major ingredient of democracy and any democratic government devoid of opposition must be ready to embrace anarchy.

“It is therefore, the duty of Nigerians, especially the National Assembly to ask questions on the administration of the resources being held in trust for them by those in power and it is the responsibility of government at all levels to explain,” Olayinka said.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Mohammed insisted that the funds that have accrued to the TSA remain intact, challenging anyone who has any fact and figure to the contrary to make such information public.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, the minister reiterated the fact that less than 2 trillion Naira has accured to the TSA, hence, the one per cent charges on the amount could not have been 25 billion Naira.

He said that apart from the resort to personal insults in the most undignifying statement ever credited to any state governor, nowhere in the statement did Governor Fayose controvert the facts that we stated concerning the TSA.

“For the sake of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who have been following the TSA debate, we hereby restate the facts:

•The TSA deal was initiated by the immediate past administration, but only enjoyed a new lease of life under the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari because of his sterling leadership qualities of accountability, transparency, uprightness and respect for the Rule of Law.

• Any agreement on the TSA charges was reached long before the present administration assumed office;

• Even if the agreement on the charges is one per cent, it could not have amounted to 25 billion Naira because the total amount of money that has accrued to the TSA is less than 2 trillion Naira;

• Even if one per cent was agreed as charges, whatever accrues therefrom was meant to be shared among the CBN, Systemspecs (the owner of the Remita software) and the commercial banks, hence no single company could have collected 25 billion Naira as charges;

• As at the time the controversy over the TSA broke, the total amount of money in the TSA was less than 800 billion Naira;

• The TSA has neither been enveloped in any fraud nor has any money from the account been diverted;

• The Senate’s investigation of the TSA issue is within its oversight responsibilities and is never a confirmation that the TSA funds have been diverted or that indeed one single company has made 25 billion Naira as charges; and

“These are the issues and we stand by them, irrespective of a rabble-rousing and demeaning statement from any quarter,’’ the minister said.

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