The Federal Government on Monday revealed that 55 privileged Nigerians stole N1.34 trillion from the treasury in eight years.
The period covers between 2006 and 2013 under the three administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umar Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the mind-troubling revelation at a briefing with media House Bureau Chiefs in Abuja, said all the 55 are in court facing trial.
He, therefore, appealed to the judiciary to help speed up the cases.
“The situation is dire and the time to act is now. For example, between 2006 and 2013, just 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34 trillion in Nigeria”, Mr. Mohammed said. “That’s more than a quarter of last year’s national budget! Out of the stolen funds, 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84 billion, four former ministers allegedly stole N7billion, 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over N14billion, eight people in the Banking Industry allegedly stole N524billion and 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653 billion”.
The Minister continued: “Now, what do these figures translate to in the actual sense? In other words, what is the cost of these stolen funds for Nigerians? 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”.
On allegations that the anti-corruption crusade of the President Muhammdu Buhari administration is lopsided, Mr. Mohammed had this to say:
“There is the erroneous impression out there that the war against corruption is a vendetta against the opposition, and that it is one-sided. This is not true and indeed very nauseating.
“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”.