Five former state governors in Nigeria have agreed to return a total of 50 billion naira in looted public funds, so they will not be prosecuted by the anti-corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the private Punch newspaper reported Sunday, quoting a top source at the Commission (US$1=125 naira).
The paper did not identify the governors, but said they included three from the states in the country’s South-South, one from the North-West and another from the North-Central geopolitical zones.
“Our stance on anti-corruption is not necessarily to expose and shame the looters of the collective wealth, even though that is equally important if only to serve as a deterrent to others,” Punch quoted a source at the EFCC as saying.
“However, it is the belief of the Commission that justice will be better served with the recovery of the stolen wealth because that is what the people really want; we want to prove that the proceeds of crime cannot be the reward of crime,” it said.
The EFCC has already taken action against five of the country’s 36 former state governors for money laundering and abuse of office, among others.
They are Joshua Dariye of northern Plateau state; Saminu Turaki of northern Jigawa; Chimaroke Nnamani of South-East Enugu; James Ibori of oil-rich Delta and Orji Uzor Kalu of South-East Abia.
Another former state governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (oil-rich Bayelsa state), has been convicted and jailed for money laundering
Nigeria has consistently ranked among the world’s most corrupt nations in the annual rating by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International, largely because of the massive looting of public funds by elected and appointed officials.
The administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua, like that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has made the fight against corruption a