A United Kingdom based lawyer, Mr Nnadozie Okpokiri on Monday advised Nigerians reinvigorate efforts towards stopping money laundering and repatriate stolen money back to the country.
Okpokiri gave the advice while reacting to the renewed fight against corruption and efforts by the Federal Government to recover proceeds of this illegal funds movement.
Okpokiri’s call comes amidst the Nigerian government’s collaboration with other governments abroad to facilitate the repatriation of funds stolen by corrupt government officials.
The President Muhammadu Buhari led government rose to power on the mantra of change with a strong determination to fight corruption and recover funds stolen from the nation’s treasury by corrupt government officials.
With this in mind, the President solicited the assistance of the international community, especially those countries, where proceeds of corruption are laundered by these corrupt officials.
These moves seem to be yielding the desired result with the recent arrest in the United Kingdom of Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison Madueke for offences relating to money laundering and corrupt enrichment.
Beyond arrest and prosecution of corrupt officials however, recovery and repatriation of the stolen funds has been a huge challenge in the past.
This according to the United Kingdom based lawyer, Nnadozie Okpokiri is as a result of failure of previous governments to properly request for the return of these monies.
“Under the UN convention against corruption, there must be a requesting country; it is the responsibility of the Nigerian government to request that these monies having been identified as looted funds be returned back to Nigeria.
“Nobody is going to send you money back to Nigeria out of the goodness of their hearts,” the lawyer said.
He also adds that the controversy over which strata of government the money should be returned to is another stumbling block to the recovery and repatriation of these stolen funds.
As the Nigerian government intensifies its campaign against corruption, the international community will do well to collaborate with it by providing information and intelligence on corrupt public officials and their assets.
By Taiwo Ojedele, Lagos
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