The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) Thursday in Abuja said the alleged stolen funds traced to former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, could fund infrastructure development in the country.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the group said in a statement by its Chairman, Austin Braimoh, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, that government could build six world-class airports in each geopolitical zone with part of the funds.
It said that the recovered loot was also enough to fund agriculture projects that would have generated employment for Nigerian youths.
It erroneously added that the N47.2 billion and $487.5 million in cash and property purportedly traced to Alison-Madueke by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were also enough to complete the Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail lines.
The federal government has estimated that both rail projects, to be partly funded by the China Exim Bank, would cost an astronomical $19.42 billion.
The group recalled that the federal government was already seeking loans for the rail projects and called on Nigerians to join hands to condemn the massive looting of the nation’s treasury by officials of previous administrations.
It expressed the belief that the loot traced to the former minister was a “far cry” from what she and others in the past governments pilfered from the treasury.
According to it, these monies stashed in foreign accounts plummeted the country into a recesion.
The group recalled that Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her associates, including Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, were currently being tried by the U.S. government for allegedly laundering over $1.7 billion.
It urged Nigerians to have a collective resolve to fight what it described as “psychotic and mindless” type of looting exhibited by indicted government officials in their days in government.
This, it said, could halt the craving to loot the public treasury by government officials.
The group reminded Nigerians that though the fight against corruption was the foremost policy thrust of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, “the fight might not attain maximum result unless Nigerians willingly resolve to join in it”.
“This synergy is necessary so as to fight the art of looting and other forms of mismanagement in government,” the group said.
It stated that all concerned Nigerians should be organising widespread protests to condemn the looting of government funds by officials, past and present, as often revealed by the anti-graft agencies.
It also asked Nigerians to stop dissipating energies on attacking Buhari, “the main fighter of corruption” over his health challenges.
The group commended anti-graft agencies, particularly EFCC, for their sustained efforts in exposing corruption in Nigeria.
It appealed to the agencies not to give up but to ensure the prosecution of culprits caught in the looting of the nation’s treasury.