The Federal Government has alleged that 55 former public officials stole N1.34tn from public treasury in eight years.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, made the allegation at a press conference in Abuja although he did not disclose their identity.
He only categorized them as former state governors, ex-ministers, former legislators, civil servants, bankers and other businessmen.
Mohammed said, “The situation is dire and the time to act is now. Between 2006 and 2013, just 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34tn in Nigeria and that’s more than a quarter of last year’s national budget.”
Out of the stolen funds, fifteen former governors allegedly stole N146.84bn; four former ministers allegedly stole N7.05bn; five former legislators allegedly stole N8.35bn; 12 former public servants, both at federal and state levels, allegedly stole over N14.18bn; eight people in the banking industry allegedly stole N524bn; while 11 businessmen allegedly stole N653bn.
Mohammed said: “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.”
While maintaining that the Buhari administration would never be biased in the fight against corruption, the minister, however, warned that no person found to have stolen public funds would go unpunished irrespective of their political, religious or tribal leanings.
The minister dismissed the accusation that the federal government’s anti-corruption crusade was lopsided, describing the allegation as nauseating and borne either out of deliberate mischief or sheer ignorance.
“Is it not clear that the cruel fate that has befallen these unfortunate people is a direct result of the misuse of the funds meant to fight the terrorists?
Are these not the true costs of corruption?