AFTER a prolonged period of absence from the public eye, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, has resurfaced and given insights into the manner in which recovered looted funds have been handled by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
While briefing the media on the contributions of his Committee on the regime’s anti-graft efforts, Sagay disclosed that the total amount of money recovered so far “hovers around one trillion naira”.
According to him: “These recoveries have been recycled into the budget to uplift the oppressed and most vulnerable victims of corruption, namely, the young unemployed youths, young school children, who can now enjoy one free nutritional meal a day at school, extremely poor families who now receive the conditional cash transfer of N5,000 a month and women, youths, farmers, etc, who now receive interest-free loans to capitalise their small scale businesses.”
He also said his Committee carried out “over 60 activities”, mainly seminars and workshops for judiciary and anti-graft agencies which ordinarily budget for these activities from the federal purse annually. It questions the relevance of bodies such as Sagay’s PACAC when we already have statutory anti-graft agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC; the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, the Police and the Judiciary which can, on their own, adequately run our criminal justice system.
We regard Sagay’s media outing as a mere press briefing and not the rendering of account on how the Buhari government has managed the recovered looted funds. Our expectations that the regime would, in line with its own anti-graft agenda, give concise periodical account of fund and asset recoveries and spending has not been met.
Based on sound economic considerations, one expects that such recovered public funds will be handled with extreme care and invested to the satisfaction of the generality of the public. If the N1 trillion had been used to address the serious lacks in our social sector, especially education and health, our leaders would have stopped hopping abroad for medical treatments. Our health workers and educational system, labour force, especially staff unions of tertiary institutions, would no longer have reason to go on strike.
Instead, the Buhari regime chose to squander the recovered funds on its controversial conditional cash transfers to “most vulnerable Nigerians”. We are not satisfied with the manner the recovered funds are being spent. Any such fund not appropriated by the National Assembly before spending is being misappropriated or even “re-looted”. These are crimes that culpable officials must pay for in due time.
We look forward to a new dispensation that will provide a non-partisan platform for those spending our recovered funds frivolously to account for their actions.