Although Mohammed did not disclose the authority for the allegation, he categorised the officials involved in the corrupt practices to include former state governors, ex-ministers, former legislators, civil servants, bankers and other businessmen.
Different government agencies, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Department of State Services and some ad hoc committees have been intensely involved in one investigation or the other since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.
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. That’s more than a quarter of last year’s national budget.
“Out of the stolen funds, 15 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.
“What do these figures translate to in the actual sense? In other words, what is the cost of these stolen funds to Nigerians? Using the World Bank rates and costs, one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road; built 36 ultra-modern hospitals, that is one ultra-modern hospital per state; built 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at N25.24m per child; and built 20,062 units of two-bedroomed houses.
“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.”
He urged Nigerians to get involved in the war against corruption.
Mohammed said everyone that had been soiled in the pool of corruption would go in for it no matter the party affiliation, adding that Buhari’s war on corruption was neither a one-man show nor a political vendetta.
He said, “Let’s take the latest issue of the $2.1bn arms deal as an example. One thing is clear. Funds meant to fight terrorism were deployed in another fight, the fight to keep the then President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the PDP, in power at all costs.
“So far, based on what we know, no one, who has been accused of partaking in the sharing of the (arms purchase) funds, has denied receiving money. All we have heard from them are ludicrous reasons why they partook in the sharing of the money.
“One said he collected N4.5bn for spiritual purposes; another said he received N2.1bn for publicity, while yet another said he got N13bn to pay someone else for the Maritime University land.