No fewer than 55 privileged Nigerians are said to have allegedly stole N1.34 trillion from the nation’s treasury in eight years beginning from 2006, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Mohammed made this declaration at a parley with bureau chiefs of top media organisations on Monday in Abuja.
He said all suspects are already facing trial in various courts.
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 amount stolens, 15 former governors allegedly stole N146.84 billion, four former ministers allegedly stole N7 billion and 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly pocketed N14 billion illegally.
“Similarly, eight people in the Banking industry allegedly stole N524 billion while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653 billion,” Mohammed revealed.
The minister rhetorically asked, what those figures translate to in the actual sense and the cost effect of the stealing on 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,” he said.
On allegations that the anti-corruption crusade of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is lopsided, the minister said it was erroneous to regard the as a vendetta against the opposition.
“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,” Mohammed said.