President Olusegun Obasanjo has been urged to publish the names of past leaders and serving politicians who looted the nation’s treasury and stashed such funds in bank accounts overseas.
A non-governmental organisation, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, made this demand over the weekend, while reacting to media reports that the Paris Club has handed over to the federal Government a list of people believed to have been involved in money laundering.
The group’s National Co-ordinator, Comrade Zik Gbemre, said publishing the names of the looters is the only way the government could show the outside world that Nigeria is serious about her anti-corruption campaign.
“We salute the doggedness with which President Obasanjo pursued Nigeria’s debt burden and the landmark success his efforts have yielded with the recent $18 billion debt cancellation by the Paris Club. We hear the Paris Club has given out the list of looters of Nigeria’s money to the President. We urge the President to without delay, publish those names, and the amount stolen for public knowledge. They should then face the music for their actions too.
“Nigerians must now be in a sober reflection at a time like this. We must focus on sustainable strategies to put a final stop to the hitherto unrestrained stealing of public funds, while we use our money wisely. If we do not stop the looting, we stand to accumulate another huge debt soonest,” he said.
The group commended the Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Central Bank Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, who worked tirelessly with the President to actualise the dream.
The coalition, however, expressed sadness at the way some sections of the society have reacted to the debt cancellation. It observed that since the debt relief was announced, some Nigerians have adopted a sychophantic attitude to it by embarking on political pilgrimages to Aso Rock to flatter the President.
“We believe all the partying over the debt cancellation is superficial and needless. The debt relief calls for sober reflection from our leaders and the citizenry to embrace prudence, selflessness, transparency and honesty in public spending. It is time to say no to looting of public money.
It is time to use the nation’s oil and gas wealth to develop the nation and its people with fairness and equity as the watchwords. More also, it is time for Nigeria to treat looters of public money with the deserved punishment that would deter others from perpetuating the ugly crime,” the group said.
Onwuka Nzeshi, This Day (Lagos), July 25, 2005
Categories: Africa, Nigeria, Odious Debts
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