Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Nigeria loses $400bn to oil thieves – Ezekwesili

Erstwhile Vice
President of the World
Bank for Africa, Dr Oby
Ezekwesili,Tuesday,
said Nigeria has lost
more than $400 billion
to oil thieves since she
attained independence
in 1960.
Ezekwesili, who further
regretted that as much
as 20 percent of the
entire budget for
capital expenditure in
Nigeria ended in
private pockets
annually, noted that
whereas oil accounts
for about 90 percent of
the value of Nigeria’s
exports, over 80
percent of the fund
ends up in the hands of
one percent of the
country’s population.
The former Minister of
Education who made
these startling
revelations in a paper
she presented at the
ongoing 52nd Annual
General Meeting, AGM,
of the Nigerian Bar
Association, NBA, in
Abuja, stressed that
“poor governance of
public resources and
assets in Nigeria is
worsening at every
level of government.”
Part of her speech
entitled “Corruption,
National Development,
The Bar and The
Judiciary,” reads, “the
negative effects of
corruption is starkly
demonstrated by the
fact that based on
current track record,
Nigeria will miss the
Millennium
Development Goals,
MDGs, target set in
2000 despite the
richness of its natural
and human resource
endowments.
“There is no doubt that
at the heart of any
progress towards
meeting these goals is
the quality of
governance at all levels
of government and yet
the general perception
since validated by the
revealed large scale
corruption in the
petroleum sector
especially but not
limited to the
management of the
subsidy scheme by
relevant agencies of
government is that
there is poor
governance of public
resources and assets in
Nigeria at every level
of government.
“Poor governance of
public resources and
assets in Nigeria is
worsening at every
level of government,
across our institutions
of state. The other and
perhaps more
significant way
corruption hurts is its
impact on the
government bottom
line and those teacher-
less, desk-less schools
only hint at the extent
of the problem in
Nigeria. An estimated
$400 billion of the
country’s oil revenue
has been stolen or
misspent since the
country’s
independence in
1960.”
According to her, “in
one study by my
former institution the
World Bank, a data
modeling revealed that
annual worldwide
losses due to
corruption amount to
between one to four
thousand US Dollars or
two percent of the
world’s gross economic
output. The Global
Financial Integrity
estimated that
between 1970 and
2008 Africa lost more
than $854 billion in
illicit financial outflows,
an amount which is far
in excess of official
development inflows.
“Another report of the
Transparency
International, TI, put
the amount of bribes
companies paid
politicians and other
public officials in
developing and
transiting economies
annually at $ 40 billion
in 2009 and consider
that Africa would
constitute major part
of”.
Nevertheless,
Ezekwesili, noted that
civil society
organizations and
umbrella bodies like
the NBA, the judiciary,
could play a significant
role towards making
public budgeting more
transparent and
accountable by
engaging in the
various stages of the
budget process with a
view to strengthening
the oversight process
and accountability in
the use of public
resources.
She said: “An
independent Judiciary
and the Bar is
important for
preserving the rule of
law and is, therefore,
most important facet
of good governance.
The judicial system has
an important role to
play ultimately in
ensuring better public
governance. There is
no area where the
judgment of the
Supreme Court has not
played a significant
role in the good
governance of any
nation whether in
environment, human
rights, gender justice,
education, minorities,
and police reforms,
among other.
“Nigerians are at once
disappointed and
worried for your
profession and the
entire justice system,
the rule of law one of
the most significant
characteristics of good
governance prevails
because India has an
independent judiciary
that has been
sustained because of
the support and
assistance from an
independent Bar which
has been fearless in
advocating the cause
of the underprivileged,
the deprived”.
“Something tells me
that some if you would
rise into action and
become the Remnant
group that has always
historically paid the
price for the greatness
if the multitude. There
is a price to be laid for
the return of our Lady
Justice. So my last
words are, “who
among you is ready to
let character

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