The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday, warned that any of the seven newly inaugurated ministers “caught in corrupt practices would face the full wrath of the law”.
This was as he urged them to eschew corruption saying public officers must be above board.
According to a statement signed on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President issued the warning at the swearing-in ceremony, which preceded the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
The newly appointed ministers and their portfolios are: Ikechukwu Ikoh (Minister of State, Science and Technology); Umana Umana (Minister of Niger Delta Affairs); Udi Odum (Minister of State, Environment); Ademola Adegoroye (Minister of State, Transport); Umar El-Yakub (Minister of State, Works and Housing); Goodluck Opiah (Minister of State, Education) and Nkama Ekumankama (Minister of State, Health.)
Speaking to the new cabinet members, Buhari called for collaboration with their older colleagues and announced the reassignment of portfolios in his cabinet, saying the new redeployment is aimed at reinvigorating certain sectors where the government desires to accomplish improved results.
He said, ‘‘I begin this address by welcoming on board, all newly sworn-in members of the Federal Executive Council. I also congratulate you because the process that you all passed through to reach this stage has been rigorous and meticulous.
‘‘I, therefore, urge you to consider your emergence out of millions of equally qualified Nigerians within the purview of selection from your State, as a call to duty that imposes the obligation to serve the nation diligently and presents to you the unique opportunity to work hard in service to the Government and the country.
‘‘This administration has been in the saddle since 2015 and is now on the home stretch of its second term, as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections. All through, it has vigorously pursued the three main electoral objectives namely: Securing the nation; Diversifying & growing the economy as well as fighting corruption.
‘‘You must resist bad counsel, resist temptation and be circumspect in your utterances and conduct. You must totally eschew corruption and be above board because if caught there will be no sacred cows.”
He further asked the newly appointed ministers to await further communication on their appropriate Ministerial Mandates from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
‘‘You are all coming on-board at this time with new energy, ideas, experiences and vigour, to join the existing team so that the implementation of policies, programs and projects associated with these electoral objectives would be escalated and accelerated.
‘‘There is still so much to be done for our country in the areas of infrastructure development, energy, access to finance, access to justice, technology and innovation, trade, agriculture, education and security. The list is inexhaustible,’’ he said.
The President also urged the new ministers to study their sectors, take wise counsel, reach out to key stakeholders, consult and collaborate with older cabinet colleagues and focus on driving key programs already initiated by the regime. He charged them to “be loyal to your President and your country.’’
At the meeting, Buhari re-assigned at least four ministers to new portfolios.
They include: Senator Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Science and Technology (formerly Minister of State, Health); Mu’azu Sambo, Minister of Transportation (formerly Minister of State, Works and Housing); Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State, Niger Delta (formerly Minister of State, Environment) and Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development (formerly Minister of State, Transportation).
Prior to the commencement of the FEC meeting and swearing-in ceremony, the Council observed a minute of silence in honour of the Secretary-General of Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Mohammed Barkindo, who died on Tuesday in Abuja.