Between 2006 and 2013, 55 former government functionaries and top businessmen allegedly stole a total of N1.34tn in Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria said.
This revelation was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press conference to announce a National Sensitisation Campaign against Corruption in Abuja on Monday, January 18, 2015.
According to The Punch Newspaper, Alhaji Mohammed said: “The situation is dire and the time to act is now. Between 2006 and 2013, just 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34tn in Nigeria. That’s more than a quarter of last year’s national budget.
“Out of the stolen funds, 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84bn; four former ministers allegedly stole N7.05bn; five former legislators allegedly stole N8.35bn; 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over N14.18bn; eight people in the banking industry allegedly stole N524bn; while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653bn.”
“What do these figures translate to in the actual sense? In other words, what is the cost of these stolen funds to Nigerians? Using the World Bank rates and costs, one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road; built 36 ultra-modern hospitals, that is one ultra-modern hospital per state; built 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at N25.24m per child; and built 20,062 units of two-bedroomed houses.
“This is the money that a few people, just 55 in number, allegedly stole within a period of just eight years. And instead of a national outrage, all we hear are these nonsensical statements that the government is fighting only the opposition or that the government is engaging in vendetta.”
He continued, “Let’s take the latest issue of the $2.1bn arms deal as an example. One thing is clear. Funds meant to fight terrorism were deployed in another fight, the fight to keep the then President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the PDP, in power at all costs.
“So far, based on what we know, no one, who has been accused of partaking in the sharing of the (arms purchase) funds, has denied receiving money. All we have heard from them are ludicrous reasons why they partook in the sharing of the money.
“One said he collected N4.5bn for spiritual purposes; another said he received N2.1bn for publicity, while yet another said he got N13bn to pay someone else for the Maritime University land.
“Based on these revelations, should we now fold our hands and allow these people to go away with public funds? Is anyone thinking about the innocent soldiers, who lost their lives just because they did not get the necessary weapons to fight the terrorists? What about the families left behind by these soldiers, who were sent to their early graves because of the misappropriation of these funds?.