‘Ex-leaders plunged Nigeria into debt by stealing national assets’

A civil society group, Movement For Nigeria, has revealed how some past leaders have converted some national assets into personal use.
The group said the action of some ex-presidents amounted to stealing of assets belonging to Nigerians and called for their immediate prosecution by anti graft agencies.
Addressing journalists in Akure on Monday, Olaiya Ayomide, National Co-ordinator of the group, expressed surprise on the inability of successive administrations to recover such national assets converted to personal properties by past leaders.
He said in the interest of justice, equity and fairness, consistent with the treatment meted out to other treasury looters, the federal government must immediately take over all the assets that some past presidents have acquired with Nigeria’s money.
He urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration not to allow itself to be blackmailed, saying such has become his antics once he is being investigated.
According to Ayomide, some former presidents became overnight critics of the Buhari administration only after finding out that the anti-corruption agencies have traced several of the high-profile theft of public fund to them or their cronies.
“The practice remained in place until the present government put a stop to it as part of cost saving measures and to judiciously use public funds. It remains to be seen if this discontinuation of the fraudulent contract is one of the grouses that the former president has against Nigerians and the basis on which he is today doing everything to punish us all by instigating instability.”
Ayomide said the rot in the power sector is equally a direct consequence of the theft of billions of naira which former presidents claimed was invested in the sector.
He said the money had been the subject of several investigation by the National Assembly, including the $10.6 billion probe.
“Unfortunately, death threat and blackmail made federal lawmakers to abandon the investigation in all instances. It is reassuring that one particular anti-graft agency has now made sufficient headway to file charges against a former president, which has now made him to become an emergency critic, just so that he can alleged witch-hunt.
“Several of the ministers that served under some former presidents have also begin to co-operate with the relevant law enforcement agencies that are investigating money stolen under his government in exchange for lessened punishment.
He urged the government to have the courage to tell citizens when it is being blackmailed into dropping corruption investigations or cases against high-profile former office holders, so that the decision to accede to their demands could be subject to public debate because citizens would always back the government to combat graft and not succumb to any arm-twisting tactics from someone of them.

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