The Federal Government said, yesterday, that 55 well-placed Nigerians stole a whopping N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, an amount that would have been enough to provide significant developmental projects across the country.
Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the figure while addressing a world press conference in Abuja to mark the beginning of the war against corruption in Nigeria.
Out of the stolen funds, the minister said 15 former governors stole N146.84 billion; four former ministers took N7 billion; 12 former public servants both at federal and state levels stole over N14 billion; eight other Nigerians in the banking sector made away with N524 billion , while 11 businessmen cornered N653 billion.
The minister said that using World Bank rates and costs, one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of roads; 36 ultra-modern hospitals per state; 183 schools; educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24 million per child and built 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses.
Mohammed said: “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.”
While maintaining that the Buhari administration would never be biased in the fight against corruption, the minister, however, warned that no person found to have stolen public funds would go unpunished irrespective of their political, religious or tribal leanings.