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Abacha loot: Ex-Juntas should return what they stole –Fasoranti, Abayomi

By Adekola Afolabi

National leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and constitutional lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, have called for more governmental processes that would make it difficult for those at the helm of affairs to steal public money.
The duo were reacting to the massive looting that took place under former military Head of State, late Gen. Sani Abacha, whereby the country is still recovering multimillion dollars stashed abroad by the former military dictator.
A whooping sum of $467.3million and 95.910 million Euro were recovered from the coffers of the late military ruler.
In separate exclusive interviews with The Hope yesterday, the two leaders further called for institutional integrity to be able to effectively fight corruption in the country
They observed that the level of decay and corruption during the military regime was very extensive and deep.
It would be recalled that in the past years, Nigeria had been recovering huge money looted and kept in foreign accounts by the former military dictator, late Gen. Sani Abacha.
According to Fasoranti, if Abacha was able to loot the nation’s treasury in such magnitude, definitely his predecessors and leaders of government would have been siphoning public funds.
The nonagenarian who decried high level of corruption in Nigeria said the shameful practice has greatly hampered socioeconomic development of the country.
Pa Fasoranti revealed that probing past military administrations would not be out of place, noting that people with good character and high integrity with assuring governmental processes would make the exercise succeed and deter other corrupt tendencies.
The elder statesman said Nigeria has been messed up by corrupt privileged leaders that continue to govern the country.
On his part, a legal luminary, Dr Tunji Abayomi, who condemned the level of corruption during the military administrations in the country, however, said an elaborate probe would take all the time of the nation and raise too many challenging issues.
“I think what is necessary is to recover what is recoverable and carry on into the future in a most better way. The corruption is too vast.
“Let us also remember that the corruption in Nigeria did not begin with the military. Military only expanded and deepened it. Corruption in Nigeria is like a wasting disease, at the early stage it is difficult to detect but easy to cure.
“But if it has reached a late stage, it is now easy to detect but difficult to cure. So, if you now begin the process of probe, where do you want to start from and where do you want to end; it is so vast and deep. An elaborate probe will touch every aspect of our national life,” he said.
The constitutional lawyer also advised government to continue the strategy adopted which is essentially to cooperate with international agencies and communities to recover money stashed in the countries abroad.
“You can imagine taking so much money from Nigeria and keeping it in foreign accounts. For what purpose? I mean it is senseless. It is a tragedy in this country that we have leaders without vision. They are always interested in accumulation of national wealth.
“They forgot that the people become wealthy when a nation becomes wealthy.
“My advice is that government should continue to examine what is examinable, reach what is reachable and continue to work with nations of the world to curb corruption in the country.
“There are lots of ways by which stolen money can be reached.
Also, we need to make anti-corruption the property of the people. And there are only two ways to do it. People should be free to open up when they see corrupt tendencies. Then, you need to improve on the welfare of the individuals.
“It will be difficult to curtail corruption when people have no food to eat, or they cannot train their children or they cannot have a small house to live in, particularly those who work in government.
“So, if government invests in wealth creation in Nigeria, the economy will rise and there will be more money for individuals,” Dr. Abayomi added.

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