The Vice President of Nigeria, has revealed on Monday, that the country lost $15billion to fraud and corrupt practices in security equipment spending during the last administration.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo made this known at a book presentation of the Ibadan-based elite group, House Of Lords, which just published an in-depth analysis by different experts titled; ‘Nigeria: The Challenges Of Growth And Development’.
With the nation’s foreign reserves now around $27billion, the Vice President drove home the significance of corruption in the country, noting that the $15billion figure, is “more than half” of the current foreign reserves of the country.
“When you look at the sheer amount of money that have been embezzled, the sheer amount of money lost from any of these various cases of corruption, you will find that far too much has been lost.
“It was discovered a few days ago that the total amount of money lost just to corruption in part of…and provision of security equipment in the military is closer to 15 billion US dollars,” he said.
He said that what the President is trying to do is to ensure that there are consequences for corruption. He is therefore sending a message that anyone found to have been corrupt would not only dislodge the property they have stolen, but will also pay for it in terms of sanctions of the law.
While observing that the President has kept a sustained fight against corruption, the Vice President said that the country cannot sustain the shocking level of public sector corruption in particular.
According to him, “I believe strongly that it is important to send a message that no public officer can steal the resources of this country and expect to escape. I hope the message would be loud and clear and it will inform behaviour in the future.”
Throwing a challenge to the generality of the Nigerian elite, Prof Osinbajo said “The limits of the growth and development of most nations largely depend on the strength of the value-driven influence of their elite, indeed it is evident that the reason for the development and growth of most societies is not resources, but values, otherwise African countries will be the most developed.”
He compared Nigeria’s situation with what had happened in Singapore years ago.
The Vice President noted that the reason why the tiny island is richer than most of sub-Saharan Africa with its vast resources, is values: hardwork, integrity, innovation promoted by a committed elite.