Lai Mohammed, the minister of information, has disclosed how much was stolen by looters from Nigeria’s coffers during the 7 past years of the ruling of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The minister stated that some 1.34 trillion naira ($6.72 billion, 6.15 billion euros) was supposedly stolen between 2006 and 2013 by just 55 people.
Mohammed said: “The situation is dire and the time to act is now.”
He continued that tackling corruption was key to the President Muhammadu Buhari government. but added that it involved everyone.
The period covered commences toward the end of the second tenure in office for country’s first civilian president after military rule, Olusegun Obasanjo. He was succeeded in 2007 by Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Goodluck Jonathan, immediate past president, took over in 2010 when Yar’Adua died in office.
Mohammed gave the breakdown as follows:
– 15 former state governors stole 146.84 billion naira;
– 11 businessmen took 653 billion naira;
– Eight people in the banking industry stole 524 billion naira;
– 12 former state and federal public servants made off with more than 14 billion naira;
– Five former lawmakers pilfered 8.35 billion naira;
– four former ministers took seven billion naira.
The minister continued: “Using 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 25.24 million per child; and built 20,062 units of 2-bedroom 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.”
Before he got into power in May, Buhari, a retired Army General, pledged to probe all corruption cases, past and present, and to bring to book all the culprits.
In fact, he campaigned and won Nigeria’s presidential elections in March, on among other things, the pledge of fighting corruption in his country.