February 4, 2016

Knocks trail AGF’s $2trn loot claim

Knocks trail AGF’s $2trn loot claim

Nigeria earns N98 trn from oil since 1958 — Vanguard investigation

By Clifford Ndujihe & Dapo Akinrefon

LAGOS — FROM the lips of some experts and eminent Nigerians, yesterday, it was hard knocks for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, over his comments that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had recovered more than $2 trillion, about N400 trillion, looted from the national treasury in the last 12 years.

Quote (1)Apart from picking holes in the figures, those who spoke to Vanguard said it was sad no one was in jail for looting the national patrimony.

Indeed, Vanguard’s investigations show that since Nigeria started generating revenue from crude oil in 1958, the country has earned about N98.293 trillion.

And since oil, over the years, has accounted for about 80 per cent of the country’s federal revenue and most of the states depend on federal allocation for survival, the total revenues generated from oil and non-oil sources since independence in 1960 is estimated to be about N140 trillion.

Between 1958 and 2007 (CBN Annual Report and Statement of Account, 2008), Nigeria earned N29.8 trillion from petroleum resources. And between 2008 and 2011, the country generated N20.895 trillion. For the period 2012 to July 2015, the figure stood at N47.542 trillion.

Among those, who spoke on the issue, yesterday, were Professor of Political Economy and Management Expert, Professor Pat Utomi; National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin; and Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Joe Igbokwe.

There must be penalties —Utomi

Faulting the figures, Professor Utomi, however, said that there has to be consequences for those  the funds were  recovered from, to deter future looters.

Utomi said: “I don’t know what to say. If so much money has been recovered, who are the people they recovered it from and why are they not in jail? If you don’t jail them, then you are encouraging people to steal more because they know that the worst that can happen is that you can take some of it from them without any penalty. There must be penalties to deter future actions.”

It’s a futile exercise —Odumakin

On  his part, Odumakin said: “if they recovered $2 trillion in 12 years, from who and whom? Where is the money? The EFCC has been enmeshed in controversy lately over the state of the recovered funds. The former EFCC boss is still being investigated over alleged re-looting of the loot. So, if that is where we are, then, it is a waste of time really and it is a futile exercise.’’

It’s a tip of the iceberg—Igbokwe

But Mr Joe Igbokwe said the recovery of the nation’s looted funds was a tip of the iceberg.

Igbokwe, who supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption fight said the looted funds would assist in boosting the already ailing economy.

His words: “Money is still lying in some peoples’ pockets, they stole the nation dry for 16 years. So, what you are seeing now is just a tip of the iceberg. By the time the government starts selling their houses in Dubai and other places, you will know what we are talking about. The 16 years were the years of the oil boom and so, we have to take all these money back. If Buhari is able to recover the nation’s funds, this nation will join the comity of nations.

“I was reading an article by PriceWater House, which said if we can deal with corruption head on, our GDP will rise to about $2 trillion in 2030 and I share in their sentiments. Once we are able to get these money which are in private pockets, we can use it to restart the economy.”

What Nigeria earned from oil

Between 1958 to 1966, Nigeria earned N140 million from petroleum resources. The country earned a similar figure during the 30-month Nigeria-Biafra civil war. During the nine-year tenure of General Yakubu Gowon, including the civil war years, the country generated about N11 billion from crude oil. In his first coming as military head of state between 1976 and 1979, the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo got N24.883 billion from petroleum resources. Between 1980 and 1983 during the civilian administration of former President Shehu Shagari, the figure stood at N35.986 billion.

In his first coming as head of state (1984 to 1985), Nigeria under Major General Muhammadu Buhari earned N19.18 billion from crude oil. Under General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military regime, which expired in 1993, earnings from crude oil were about N318.121 billion.

During the short stint of the Chief Ernest Shonekan-led Interim Regime in 1993, the figure was N106.192 billion. During the late General Sani Abacha years – 1993 to 1998, Nigeria earned N1.415,507 trillion and under General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the earnings were N394.766 billion.

During Obasanjo’s eight-year civilian administration, about N24.179 trillion was generated. Under late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, about N9.535 trillion was earned from crude oil and during the immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, about N62.253 trillion was raked in from petroleum resources.