17 March 2014, Abuja – Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has reiterated the order by President Goodluck Jonathan for a forensic audit of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was a guest of CNN’s GPS anchor, Fareed Zakaria, admitted the NNPC had lived for too long with allegations of corruption and that the president had gone ahead to authorise a forensic audit of the corporation to determine the truth or otherwise of the “unaccounted” $20 billion.
Zakaria who had taken a position on the controversy surrounding the suspension of Sanusi, told his global audience that Sanusi, a world acclaimed economist and respected Central Bank governor was relieved of his job for blowing the whistle on the unremitted $20 billion oil money.
He wondered how $50 billion of oil money would be missing in Nigeria over the years.
But Okonjo-Iweala reminded him that there had been inconsistencies in Sanusi’s claims and that a reconciliation process among the relevant organs of government reduced the level of the yet-to-be accounted billions.
On the issue of anti-gay law, Okonjo-Iweala said Nigeria needs more discussions issue to be resolve. The finance minister noted that just as it took the United States and some other nations that have embraced same sex marriage about 50 years to achieve such feat, countries like Nigeria should be given enough time for discussion around the issue.
However, Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that 96 per cent of Nigerians support the anti-gay law in the country.
“Here in the United States, and it took 40 to 50 years or more of conversation for the gay community to get to where the US is. I think that we need a conversation in the country, we need evolution.
“96 per cent of people support the law, but I think we need to unpack the laws on same sex marriage. There is a strong sentiment against same sex marriage, just as you had here (in the United States) and it is still evolving,” Okonjo-Iweala explained.
According to her, “it is a question of conversation, discussion, evolution and engagement just as it happened in this country (United States) and in Europe. It is not something that happened overnight. I would say let us work on this.”
The same-sex marriage law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan criminalises relationships, defying western pressure over gay rights.
The law contains penalties of up to 14 years in prison, bans gay marriage, same-sex, amorous relationships and membership of gay rights groups.
According to the law, any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offense