The ruling All Progressives Congress has accused the past administration led by Goodluck Jonathan of looting at least N11.11 trillion (or $55.68 billion at N199.5 to a dollar) of public funds while in office.
In a statement Sunday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, said, the rate at which public funds were stolen during the last regime was too “massive”, “spine-chilling” and “mind-boggling” to ignore.
The party listed the funds unaccounted for by the regime to include: – 3.8 trillion Naira out of the 8.1 trillion Naira earned from crude oil (2012-2015) withheld by NNPC – 2.1 billion US dollars from Excess Crude Account unaccounted for – Department of Petroleum Resources’ unremitted 109.7 billion Naira royalty from oil firms – 6 billion US dollars allegedly looted by some Ministers of the last Administration – 160 billion barrels of crude worth 13.9 billion US dollars lost between 2009 and 2012 – 15 million US dollars from botched arms deal yet to be returned to Nigeria - 13 billion US dollars in NLNG dividends mostly unaccounted for - 30 billion Naira rice waiver - 183 billion naira unaccounted for at the Niger Delta Development Commission. The party said the listed ‘missing’ funds constituted just a tip of the iceberg since they are mostly from a few sectors of the economy, mostly the oil sector, and were discovered even before the forensic audit now being undertaken in some key areas. ”The level of looting that went on in other sectors is better imagined, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally around the Buhari Administration to recover the loots, bring the looters to justice and to put in place measures to prevent such looting in the future,” Mr. Mohammed said.
”The level of looting that went on in other sectors is better imagined, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally around the Buhari Administration to recover the loots, bring the looters to justice and to put in place measures to prevent such looting in the future,” he added.
He said any worthy leader would not close his eyes to such huge plundering of public resources before
“… Nothing but the total recovery of the funds will be acceptable to all patriotic Nigerians,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said anyone who attempts, either by deeds or words, to sabotage the recovery efforts is not a patriot and deserves nothing but public opprobrium.
The statement thanked “Nigerians for their overwhelming support for the Buhari Administration in its tough but important task of tracing and recovering the loots, while also ensuring that the looters face justice”.
It added, ”It is absolutely gratifying that Nigerians are vehemently opposed to the few who would rather have the government of the day turn a blind eye to the looted funds and, in their words, carry on with the process of governance.
”Truly, what sort of governance can go on if the billions of Naira in a few hands are not recovered? In the first instance, the government needs every kobo of the funds it can muster to bring about the change it has promised Nigerians. Secondly, leaving such hair-raising funds in the hands of the few looters is dangerous, because they can use the funds to destabilize any government. In fact, no one will be surprised if the looters use their dirty funds to sponsor public demonstrations against the government’s determination to recover the funds.
”Thirdly, allowing those who privatized the commonwealth to get away is offering a thumbs-up for looting. No responsible government will do that,” the APC said.
The party said already the looters have embarked on a relentless and an increasingly-bold campaign to discredit the government of the day and sabotage the funds’ recovery process, using newspaper columnists, ‘talking heads’ and otherwise respectable opinion leaders.
”They and their paid hirelings have tried to employ sophistry to muddle the waters, but Nigerians are much wiser, and will not succumb to the dirty antics of the looters’ megaphones,” it said. The APC said it is necessary to remind Nigerians of the kind of massive looting of the treasury that took place in the past few years, so they can better appreciate the seriousness of the issue at stake.