A former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, has said that about $200 billion out of $700-$800 billion of stolen wealth stashed in foreign banks, is suspected to be from Nigeria.
He said the amount of illegal monies taken out of developing world can resolve most developmental challenges bugging the victim countries.
Mailafia advocated for amnesty for corrupt Nigerians to repatriate money stashed in foreign lands back into the country, saying such can trigger economic boom now that the country is in recession.
The economist, who hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to fight corruption, however, lamented that the government does not have a cogent economic blueprint, a development he described as disturbing.
He said the government needs to take urgent measures to address hardship being experienced by Nigerians, adding that Nigerians “are hungry and getting impatient”.
Mailafia noted that if corruption were brought under control, Africa would have all the capital needed to finance its own development.
“The picture is even more unsettling for Nigeria. It is estimated that since the 1970s, we earned a staggering US$1 trillion from oil exports. However, due to corruption, over US$400 billion has been frittered away. The 1994 Okigbo panel on the Reorganisation and Reform of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revealed that a whopping US$12 billion could not be properly accounted for by the erstwhile military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida. I can tell you that US$12 billion was a lot of money then. It is a lot of money now.
“And according to the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs — Chatham House – Nigerians, in collusion with foreign shadowy characters, have engaged in the plundering of our oil resources at a monthly average of US1 billion during the years 2007-2014. It is no surprise why Nigerians today are poorer than they were in the 1970s when the country was emerging from a tragic civil war.
“Corruption and poverty are Siamese twins. Corruption is a curse and blight to any nation. Corruption has given Nigerians a bad name all the world. It has given the enemies of our people the right to malign us as the most renegade people on earth. It has robbed us of all honour and all dignity in the councils of the family of nations,” he stated.
In his remarks, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Buhari administration has placed emphasis on the fight against corruption because the anticorruption success is key to economic prosperity.
He said the government “has left no one in doubt about its commitment to fight corruption” adding that efforts to revive the economy will not yield the needed result without first curbing corruption.
The minister, however, said that “corruption is fighting back fast and furiously” as he urged Nigerians to support the federal government in tackling it.