The federal government said Thursday that the amount of money looted from government treasury through corrupt practices stood at $400 billion.
This is coming as the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said the commission was committed to the recovery of stolen assets for the development of the country.
The Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Festus Keyamo, who made the declaration in Abuja, said government arrived at the amount through a research conducted recently.
Keyamo, who spoke while addressing 164 officers of the EFCC Cadet Course 8 currently undergoing orientation and induction at the EFCC Academy, said corruption was the bane of the country.
“If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. Anybody who said corruption is not the bane of Nigeria today is not honest.
“A research conducted sometimes ago revealed that the amount of money looted as a result of corruption in Nigeria stands at $400 billion,” he said.
Keyamo charged the cadets to take the fight against corruption seriously, bearing in mind the admonition of President Muhammadu Buhari that, “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.
Keyamo enjoined the cadets to celebrate their recruitment into the commission at a time when the EFCC truly enjoyed complete independence to execute its mandate.
He blamed interference by previous governments for the slow pace of the fight against corruption in the past as several investigations and prosecution of offenders were frustrated.
Meanwhile, the EFCC Chairman, Magu, has reiterated the commitment of the commission to the recovery of stolen assets for the development of the nation.
Magu disclosed this at a session between him and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and other top executives of the country’s anti-corruption agencies at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The EFCC boss who pledged to recover Nigeria’s stolen funds hidden in different parts of the globe, said: “I am very committed to the recovery of stolen funds wherever they are located, which should be utilised through budgetary system to remedy the harm the theft has caused.”
While intimating the lawmakers on the recent achievements of the commission in the fight against cyber fraud, especially the outcomes of EFCC’s collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Magu said “the just concluded ‘Operation Rewired,’ resulted in the recovery of the sum of $169,850 as well as N92 million,” adding that lots of expensive cars and several plots of land were also recovered during the operation across Nigeria.
He also pointed to the $40 million worth of jewelry forfeited to the federal government by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, stating that the EFCC would assist the government to ensure that there was effective utilisation of recovered stolen funds.
He listed the agencies that benefitted from allocation of recovered assets to include Voice of Nigeria (VON), Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD), North East Development Commission (NEDC) and National Social Investment Office and Fiscal Responsibility Commission (NSIOFRC).
Gbajabiamila in his remarks, said the essence of the discussion was to see how public funds and assets recovered could help in relation to budget processes, accountability, transparency and how the country can be developed by putting the funds to better use.