55 Past Government Officials Stole N1.34trn In Eight Years – Lai Mohammed
BEVERLY HILLS, January 18, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has lamented that within a period of eight years as few as 55 persons allegedly stole a total of N1.34trn from the public treasury, an amount he said is more than a quarter of the 2015 national budget.
Using the World Bank rates and costs, he analysed that a third of that amount could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road; built an ultra modern hospital across the 36 states; built 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24m per child; and constructed 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses.
The minister made this disclosure at a press conference in Abuja on Monday called to launch the national sensitization campaign against corruption, where he sought the support of journalists for the campaign unless they want corruption to kill Nigeria.
According to him, ”Out of the stolen funds, 15 former Governors allegedly stole 146.84 billion naira; 4 former Ministers allegedly stole 7 billion naira; 12 former Public Servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over 14 billion Naira; 8 people in the Banking Industry allegedly stole 524 billion Naira; while 11 businessmen allegedly stole 653 billion naira.
”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,” he said.
Speaking on the diversion of the $2.1bn arms deal, Mohammed stated that irrespective of what anyone might say, there is no doubt that funds meant to fight terrorism were deployed to another ‘fight’, the fight to keep then President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the PDP, in power at all cost.
His words, ”So far, based on what we know, no one who has been accused of partaking in the sharing of the funds has denied receiving money. All we have heard from them are ludicrous reasons why they partook in sharing of the money. One said he collected 4.5 billion Naira for spiritual purposes, another said he received 2.1 billion naira for publicity, while yet another said he got 13 billion Naira 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?” the minister queried.