Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has accused the immediate past administration of stealing about half the country’s foreign currency reserves through fraudulent arms procurement deals.
According to Osinbajo the total sum lost to corruption related to the provision of security equipment to the military amounted to around $15 billion.
The VP said this while speaking at the book presentation of the Ibadan-based elite group, House of Lords, titled “Nigeria: The Challenges of Growth and Development”, at the University of Ibadan on Monday.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said: “By the grace of God in the next few days we will begin the implementation of one of the most ambitious budgets in our
history. Ambitious not just in its size but more in its broad range of fiscal and other socio-economic policies.
“When you look at the sheer amount of money that have been embezzled, the sheer amount of money lost from any of these various cases of corruption, you will find that far too much has been lost.
“It was discovered a few days ago that the total amount of money lost just to corruption in part of…and provision of security equipment in the military is closer to 15 billion US dollars,” he said.
With Nigeria currently going through its worst economic crisis in decades due to the drop in global crude prices, the Vice President noted that Africa’s biggest economy cannot sustain the shocking level of public sector corruption in particular, adding that President Buhari will keep up a sustained fight against corruption.
He said: “I believe strongly that it is important to send a message that no public officer can steal the resources of this country and expect to escape. I hope the message would be loud and clear and it will inform behaviour in the future.
“What President Buhari is trying to do is to ensure that there are consequences for corruption and we try to send a message that anyone who is found to have been corrupt would not only dislodge the property they have stolen but will also pay for it in terms of the sanctions of the law.
“The limits of the growth and development of most nations largely depend on the strength of the value-driven influence of their elite, indeed it is evident that the reason for the development and growth of most societies is not resources, but values, otherwise African countries will be the most developed.”
In comparing Nigeria’s situation with that of Singapore, the Vice President said the reason why the Asian country is rich in vast resources is as a result of values: hardwork, integrity, innovation stimulated by a committed individuals.