Of Abacha Loot And Others | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Of Abacha Loot And Others

Posted: May 4, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The media, on Tuesday, reported that fresh $370m Abacha loot had been discovered in Luxembourg, Switzerland. The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Hans Rudolf Hodel, disclosed this, when he paid a courtesy visit to the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, in Abuja. The ambassador revealed that his country was not involved in the process of recovering the money, but that they had provided the legal assistance demanded by the Nigerian government to get the money returned to Nigeria. He, however, noted that there was an on-going negotiation between the Abacha family and the Federal Government in that regard.

It is expedient to state here that the Federal Government should acquaint Nigerians with the exact loot traceable to the late General Sani Abacha. The inability of the Federal Government to say exactly how much is involved speaks volumes about our collective sense of accountability. After all, the loot could not have been emerging from bottomless coffers. Apparently, people have lost interest in the recurring loot story because they cannot find a concrete thing that has been done with the ones recovered. It is high time the government stopped hoarding vital information about governance and taking Nigerians for granted. People have the right to know how their elected representatives are handling their hard-earned money.

It is quite appalling that searchlight is being beamed incessantly on the loot by the dead only, but with little attention paid to the glaring financial impropriety perpetrated daily by the living. Some people in government have been accused of stealing and diverting public funds and yet, nothing has been done to bring them to book. This is one reason Nigeria is ranked very high in the corruption index in the world. One way to show that a government is resolute about its fight against corruption is to prosecute those whose hands are not clean. Our inability to tackle the corruption virus has given us a very bad name abroad. Everywhere Nigerians go, they are frisked like criminals. This is because the thieves in our midst, who have constituted themselves into cankerworms, which feast on the nation’s purse, are allowed to enjoy their loot.

 The Federal Government should consolidate our money-laundering laws and also fortify corruption-tackling commissions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, so that government officials who steal from public treasury can be brought to justice. The inexplicable impunity they enjoy after the theft is what has emboldened them to perpetrate the crime continually. Conclusively, we express our displeasure with the way Nigerians accept and celebrate such crooks as nobles. This must stop because their attitude soils our age-long reputation as a cultured people who detest corruption. We were once universally revered for our high moral values, and we must do everything possible as a nation to regain that lost glory. One of the ways to do that is to bring the criminals in our midst to justice.