55 Nigerians stole N1.34 trillion in eight years.

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The Federal Government on Monday reeled out the statistics on corruption in the country with a shocking revelation that N1.34 trillion was stolen by 55 Nigerians in eight years.

This amount stolen between 2006 and 2013, if put to good use, would have assisted in bridging the country’s deficit in infrastructure, housing as well as come handy in funding the nation’s dilapidated health care system.

Also in World Bank estimates, one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of roads; 36l ultra-modern hospitals per state; 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.

Breakdown of the 55 Nigerians showed 15 former governors stole N146.84 billion; four former ministers took N7 billion; 12 former public servants both at federal and state levels stole over N14 billion; eight other Nigerians in the banking sector made away with N524 billion , while 11 businessmen cornered N653 billion.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, at a world press conference in Abuja to kickstart the campaign for war against corruption in Nigeria said “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.”

Presudent Muhammadu Buhari administration within the short period of being in the saddle has uncovered monumental and crippling corruption cases including the $2.1 billion arms deal which has exposed many highly placed NIgerians.

Assuring that the Buhari administration would never be selective in the fight against corruption, Lai Mohammed however, warned that no person found to have stolen public funds would go unpunished irrespective of their political, religious or tribal leanings.

There have been accusation that the administration anti-corruption crusade was selective and targeting only people in the opposition party.

The minister said such allegation is nauseating and out of deliberate mischief.

“There is the erroneous impression out there that the war against corruption is a vendetta against the opposition, and that indeed it is one-sided. This is not true and indeed very nauseating. We need the media to lead the campaign against corruption.

“All we have heard from them are ludicrous reasons why they partook in sharing of the money. One said he collected N4.5 billion for spiritual purposes, another said he received N2.1 billion for publicity, while yet another said he got N13 billion 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? What about those who lost their means of livelihood after the terrorists overran their towns and villages? What of the millions of Nigerians, especially women and children, who are now living in IDP camps?

“Is it not clear that the cruel fate that has befallen these unfortunate people is a direct result of the misuse of the funds meant to fight the terrorists? Are these not the true costs of corruption? he asked.

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