The All Progressives Congress has alleged a grand plot by treasury looters to derail the government of President Mohammadu Buhari, using the money they have stolen, begging Nigerians not to allow this happen.
The party, in a statement on Sunday, by its spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described anybody speaking against the President’s move to recover the stolen funds as unpatriotic worthy of nothing but public opprobrium.
Inferring that it was dangerous to allow such huge amounts in the hands of individuals, the party said, it could be used to destabilise the government.
Regretting that looters had since used the media to embarked on a relentless and an increasingly-bold campaign to discredit the government and sabotage the funds’ recovery process, through newspaper columnists, ‘talking heads’ and otherwise respectable opinion leaders, the party said: “They and their paid hirelings have tried to employ sophistry to muddle the waters, but Nigerians are much wiser, and will not succumb to the dirty antics of the looters’ megaphones.
“It is absolutely gratifying that Nigerians are vehemently opposed to the few who would rather have the government of the day turn a blind eye to the looted funds and, in their words, carry on with the process of governance.
“Truly, what sort of governance can go on if the billions of naira in a few hands are not recovered? In the first instance, the government needs every kobo of the funds it can muster to bring about the change it has promised Nigerians.
“Secondly, leaving such hair-raising funds in the hands of the few looters is dangerous, because they can use the funds to destabilise any government.
“In fact, no one will be surprised if the looters use their dirty funds to sponsor public demonstrations against the government’s determination to recover the funds.
“Thirdly, allowing those who privatised the commonwealth to get away is offering a thumbs-up for looting. No responsible government will do that.
“It is necessary to remind Nigerians of the kind of massive looting of the treasury that took place in the past few years, so they can better appreciate the seriousness of the issue at stake.”
They gave a breakdown of the money stolen from the government as N3.8 trillion out of the N8.1 trillion naira earned from crude oil (2012-2015) withheld by NNPC, $2.1 billion from Excess Crude Account unaccounted for, Department of Petroleum Resources’ unremitted N109.7 billion royalty from oil firms, $6 billion allegedly looted by some ministers of the last administration, 160 billion barrels of crude worth $13.9 billion lost between 2009 and 2012, $15 million from botched arms deal yet to be returned to Nigeria, $13 billion in NLNG dividends mostly unaccounted for, N30 rice waiver and N183 billion unaccounted for at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The statement continued: “The listed ‘missing’ funds constitute just a tip of the iceberg since they are mostly from a few sectors of the economy, mostly the oil sector, and were discovered even before the forensic audit now being undertaken in some key areas.
“The level of looting that went on in other sectors is better imagined, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally around the Buhari administration to recover the loots, bring the looters to justice and to put in place measures to prevent such looting in the future.”