Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Research Blames Corruption for Infrastructural Deficit, Prolonged Security Challenges

Razaq Bamidele

Report of a research conducted by an advocacy group and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) Resource Centre has, in a regretted how hi-tech but not on the surface corruption has been the problem of the country in its quest to bridge the deficit gap in the infrastructure development.

The organisation, in addition attributed the prolonged security challenges in the country on the same menace, regretting that, the calibre of personalities involved with the assistance of those the reports described as, ‘Army of Enablers’ aiding and abetting corruption, had also constituted themselves into “destructive economic forces.”

Chairman of the NGO, Comrade Olanrewaju Suraju, in his welcome address at the round table discussion on corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria and also the unveiling of “A Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria (4th Edition), which took place at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, Tuesday, lamented that, in a situation where security agents who are supposed to fight crime are involved in perpetuating crimes through corruption, the security challenges would not be in a hurry to end!

He wondered how the security challenges would leave the shore of Nigeria if those to procure arms and ammunition for the troops divert the funds for their personal use, expressing sadness that, while people are dying, being kidnapped, maimed and displaced, the traitors are buying properties abroad like in the United Kingdom (UK), and the United Arab Emirate (UAE), most especially.

According to him, if the money being lost through corruption can be stopped, retrieved and ploughed into the economy, the problem of infrastructural deficit would be addressed and the lives of the citizenry would be improved regretting that, “right now, Nigerians are struggling to clutch at any available straw to survive like people in a sinking boat.”

He was, however, expressed optimism that, “with cooperation and collaboration of relevant institutions like the media, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the country where the money is stolen and the country where it is invested, the fight against corruption can be won and end corrupt practices because it takes two to tango.”

The reports of the researches conducted on how stolen money are taken out of Nigeria, was presented by a University don, from Kent, Dr Gbenga Oduntan, who said the major funds stolen from the country are through ‘Illicit Financial Flow (IFF), when multinational companies under invoice their dealings and evade taxes, explaining that money stolen through that avenue constituted about 70 per cent of money taken out of the country, which runs to billions of Naira and which is difficult to detect due to the hi-tech formula and calibre of personalities involved.

He maintained that there was the need for a good partnership among Nigeria government, the British government and government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to wage a serious war against against corruption, adding that most money stolen in Nigeria are being invested in Britain and UAE, and despite their law against corruption, corrupt practices still lamentably strive in those countries unabated!

The don disclosed that from the investigation carried out, 334 Nigerians, across all sectors, own 800 houses in UAE, and that they launder money with such properties, explaining that, their modus oprandi is buying such property today and selling in a week time, with interest.

Out of the 800 properties, according to the report, 158 were through proxy, 50 with real names of the owners with others through other means.

Oduntan, who believes that all the ant-corruption regulatory agencies are not doing enough therefore charged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to exhibit what he termed “institutional capacity” capable of dealing with corrupt practices stressing the need for collaboration between the anti-graft agencies and the CBN to be able to tackle corruption effectively in the country.

He also tasked the media to go all out to rescue the country from the claws of those destructive economic forces who are mainly corrupt businessmen within and multinational that are milking the country dry, by engaging in investigative efforts at exposing all the economic saboteurs in Nigeria, believing that by so doing, the perpetrators would think twice before committing further crimes knowing full well that, there would be no hiding place for them.

The NGO, in its 4th Edition of a Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria, revealed that 16 former governors, two (2) senators, five (5) former ministers and advisers, among others, were currently facing trial in the country, while nine (9) former governors, among others, had their cases pending, with three governors and five other offenders already sentenced.