The bulk of an estimated 90 billion dollars that left Africa annually through illicit financial flow to overseas might have come from Nigeria.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), made the disclosure on Thursday at the 2019 Africa Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day in Lagos.
Owasanoye, represented by Mr Gododaye West, the ICPC Legal Adviser, Lagos office, said that the negative impact of corruption on the continent’s economic development was very obvious.
“It is more poignant that the worst-hit victims of the crimes of corruption remains the vulnerable poor and marginalised individuals.
“It is even sad that the bulk of an estimated 90 billion dollars that leave Africa through illicit financial flow annually might have come from Nigeria.
“But, the continent as a whole, certainly receives less than that amount in development assistance from countries of Europe and America yearly.
“Since the proceeds of crime ends in assets, stashed mostly abroad, it is humane that Nigeria adopts the strategy of asset recovery and return to the source as one of the cardinal points of her national anti-corruption strategy,” he said.
Owasanoye said the commission was poised to squarely address grand corruption associated with the social welfare sector which had impacted negatively on the lives of ordinary citizens.
“The new policy focus of the commission is to ensure effective utilisation of budgetary allocations to social welfare and human development.
“On the other hand, the commission intends to use provisions of its law to deny corrupt persons use of whatever they have stolen from Nigerian people and make more resources available for development.
“ICPC is currently tracking the execution of constituency capital projects across the country so as to ensure that the projects are properly executed and delivered to the communities they were meant for.
“As we join our brothers to create awareness on the menace of corruption and engender collective action against it today, we need to deeply understand the direct and indirect impact of corruption on all of us.
“With corruption, citizens suffer one denial or the other; in social service, physical infrastructure and their general wellbeing,” he said.
Owasanoye enjoined all stakeholders to ultimately support the government’s effort in asset recovery for national development.
Also, Mr Tosin Adesina, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter Lead Connected Development, said that stolen assets in trillions had reduced the level of growth and development in the country.
Adesina urged Nigerians to collaborate with the commission to fight corruption.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event was titled:” Opportunity Cost of Corruption and the Value of Asset Recovery”. (NAN)