The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has recently exposed that during the period from 1999 to 2022, public funds amounting to $825 billion (equivalent to N1.7 trillion) were embezzled by past administrations.

HEDA Resource Centre is now urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to take immediate action by investigating and recovering the stolen money.

This call was made by David Ogungbesan, the Legal Officer of HEDA Resource Centre, during a protest held on Thursday outside the EFCC and ICPC offices.

In February 18th, 2023, HEDA Resource Centre published a research compilation titled “Impunity Galore: A Chronicle of Some High profile Unresolved Corruption Cases in Nigeria.” This comprehensive compilation revealed numerous instances of corruption and investigations that have not reached the courts and still remain unresolved to this day.

The cases included investigations conducted by both the executive and legislative branches of the government, with a significant number of them having received no attention from the EFCC or ICPC.

Ogungbesan emphasized that many of these corruption cases were confined to boardrooms or offices, and they are calling for thorough investigations to bring those involved to justice.

The staggering amount of money involved, over 1.7 trillion Naira, cannot be overlooked, particularly in a country where progress is hindered by backward trends.

Recovering this money could significantly contribute to economic development and benefit the Nigerian people by enabling the government to invest in essential infrastructure and social amenities.

The purpose of the protest was to shed light on the unresolved corruption cases that are preventing Nigeria from achieving prosperity.

HEDA Resource Centre aims to generate public demand for action on these cases, especially those highlighted in their publication.

Ogungbesan emphasized, “There is no denying that the funds embezzled by a handful of individuals, if properly managed, could have propelled Nigeria from a developing nation to a developed country, providing its citizens with state-of-the-art facilities, robust infrastructure, and comprehensive social support.”

“This will, in turn, have a positive impact on the living standards of the masses and help bridge the poverty gap.

We urge all law enforcement agencies, especially the EFCC and ICPC, to fulfill their statutory responsibilities without bias, by thoroughly investigating all corruption cases, especially those mentioned in the compendium.

According to him, Nigeria finds itself in a precarious situation due to the escalating prices of fuel, gas, food, and essential commodities, along with the growing insecurity.

These factors have significantly affected the cost of living, and to increase its revenue, the government has resorted to introducing new taxes, which has further burdened businesses and citizens.

Our stance is that these massive sums of money can be reclaimed for the country by effectively resolving all corruption cases, thereby alleviating the current economic hardships faced by Nigerians and transforming Nigeria into a prosperous nation,”
he emphasized.

By Chinedu

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