By Nuel Suji – A former senator and member of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Anthony Agbo, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his anti-graft searchlight on the state governors, especially those that have left office.
Agbo who represented Ebonyi north senatorial district in the 6th session of the National Assembly, said Buhari’s loot recovery drive would create sufficient fund for the 2016 budget, regardless of the downward slide in oil price.
“Ninety percent of money stolen in this country are outside the country lodged in banks of big nations where sometimes people can die and those monies are trapped there and forgotten,” he said in an interview.
The Senator called on all Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against corruption, saying there was need for a more elaborate approach to effectively tackle the menace.
“The EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) as it is composed today, to me, is too small to handle the beehive of corruption activities that have happened in this country over the past years. If it should be handled by EFCC alone as it is been done today, then the EFCC has to be enlarged in such a way that they will be active at local government levels, at state levels and geopolitical zones and also at international level. Every major country in the world which use to host a large traffic of privileged Nigerians need to have strong arm of the anti-corruption machinery to identify whatever Nigerians have in those places in terms of property, in terms of cash and how they came about them.
“If the anti-corruption crusade is comprehensive enough, then whether the price of oil falls to ten dollar per barrel it wouldn’t affect our economy in any way because the recoveries that would be made can sustain this country for the next 10, 15 to 20 years. 90% of money stolen in this country are outside the country lodged in banks of big nations where sometimes people can die and those monies are trapped there and forgotten. Some of them put those stolen funds there without even their close families knowing about them,” Agbo said.
According to him, “Everybody is happy with what Buhari is doing indeed. But Nigerians are still looking up to see how serious it can be because nobody has been convicted yet and only few names are still being mentioned. The governors, nobody is talking about them yet and former governors. Serving governors may have immunity, but what about the former governors.”
On the 2016 budget, Agbo said: “The 2016 budget is good to me. But I have a recommendation in the area of the N500b allocation for payment of unemployment benefit to unemployed school leavers and the underprivileged Nigerians. First of all, I would want to commend the President for this kind of intervention because he is possibly the first President that has shown this demonstration of milk of human kindness to the plight of the less privileged Nigerians.
“But I feel N500b in one budget for this purpose is a whole lot of money. Why don’t we use out of this money to set up industry in every state of Nigeria and create permanent job for this set of unemployed Nigerians. If we use N10b to set up industry in every state in Nigeria that will amount to N360b out of this money. And the 10 billion naira industry will give permanent employment to a good number of Nigerians in every state. The remaining N160b can then be used for the social welfare programme.”