|Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed|
The Federal Government has alleged that 55 former government functionaries and top businessmen stole N1.34tn from public treasury in eight years.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the allegation at a press conference to announce a National Sensitisation Campaign against Corruption in Abuja on Monday.
Although Mohammed did not disclose the authority for the allegation, he categorised the officials involved in the corrupt practices to include former state governors, ex-ministers, former legislators, civil servants, bankers and other businessmen.
Different government agencies, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Department of State Services and some ad hoc committees have been intensely involved in one investigation or the other since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.
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 urged Nigerians to get involved in the war against corruption.