In the past few weeks, a lot of drama has been going on lately regarding misappropriation of funds under Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala leadership as Finance Minister, which was pointed out by Mr. Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and has received widespread acclaim from most Nigerians.
However, in a recent statement published by Premium Times, Soludo further reaffirmed his claim that in the last few years, under Okonjo-Iweala governance, at least 30 trillion of Nigerian money cannot be accounted for, as it’s either been stolen or diverted. He also mentioned that this does not include the approximately 8.6 trillion Naira the African Union said is stolen from Nigeria annually.
Read Soludo’s statement below as reported by Premium Times:
1. My attention has been drawn to statements credited to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in response to my latest article and call for a structured debate on the issues. According to the report, she no longer wants to join issues with me. In the circumstance of the moment, I therefore withhold parts two and three of my promised three-part response.
2. Let me also state for the avoidance of doubt that I stand by every statement I made in the two articles viz: (1) “Buhari Vs Jonathan: Beyond the Elections”; and (2) “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Missing Trillions”. In particular, I insist that over N30 trillion has either been stolen or unaccounted for, or grossly mismanaged over the last few years. This figure does not include the estimated $40.9 billion (N8.6 trillion at parallel market exchange rate or nearly two years’ Federal Government budget) which the African Union’s (AU) recent report claims to be “stolen” from Nigeria each year.
3. I wish to thank Nigerians all over the world who have been contributing to this timely debate. This is election time and it is expected that some vested interests will either choose to live in denial or attempt to politicise the issues. But from the debate so far, I am convinced that our economic management won’t be the same again. Once our managers know that the citizens will rigorously and vigorously challenge them to account, the welfare of the citizens will be better for it. Whoever wins has his job cut out for him, and to the extent that this debate has challenged the respective teams to seriously re-examine their blueprints to guarantee the security and prosperity of every Nigerian, my objective is accomplished. I love my country Nigeria, and as I said before, I won’t keep quiet again.
Once more, Nigeria must survive and prosper beyond Buhari or Jonathan!