With the figures being revealed at the ongoing probe by the Ad-hoc Committee of the House on “Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilisation,“ Nigerians have a reason to worry about the future of the country. The worry is not about the corruption that we are familiar with, but about the auto-pilot of the fight against corruption which is in reverse.
Nigerians should also worry about inconsistencies and lack of coordination of their government as well as the seeming hijack of government business by a few powerful individuals within the corridor of power.
In one breath, the accountant-general of the federation openly declared before the Committee that the over £4.2 million James Ibori loot repatriated to Nigeria had been remitted to the account of Delta State government where it was stolen from, only for the chief accounting officer of the country to recount his position on the matter after a few hours through a press statement. When the minister of finance and economic planning, Zainab Ahmed was asked about the status of the fund, she feigned ignorance and passed the buck to the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami.
As if that was not enough heartbreak for the citizenry, there comes a bigger revelation. The office of the attorney-general is sitting on a case that could lead to the recovery of over $69 billion (USD), about N23 trillion, which is almost the country’s annual budget for two years.
This and other revelations have raised more questions about the management of the recovered loots by the anti-corruption agencies and raised suspicion about the seeming re-looting of the recovered loots.
There were also several allegations of unauthorized spending of recovered funds rimming into billions of naira as well as none-remittance of other recovered funds from foreign countries to appropriate quarters, like in the case of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) where £4.2 million and another €5.5 million are yet to be received.
Nigerians would wonder why the government has to rely heavily on external borrowing to finance yearly budgets if these resources are well managed.
While these revelations are heart-wrenching, some Nigerians are still hopeful, giving the powers of the National Assembly to correct anomalies in government. However, the antecedent of the House did not suggest any hope as similar probes in the past have did not yield any result, until proven otherwise, this investigation might just end up as another media jamboree, sad!