FG has failed to use recovered loot to fight poverty – Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has criticised the Federal Government for failing to address the increasing poverty in the country.

He noted that the government did not deploy the looted trillions of naira it recovered through the whistleblower policy, Treasury Single Account and Bank Verification Number, to address the deprivation in the land.

Speaking at the second anniversary of the whistleblower policy organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, in Abuja on Monday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria observed that what had been recovered was a tip of the iceberg.

He said the government had failed to follow up on the various tips he provided including the request he made to the Minister of Finance on March 8, 2016 to recover $200bn.

Falana stated, “Apart from boasting about the success recorded so far in the implementation of the TSA, BVN and whistleblower policies, the trillions of naira which have been saved or recovered by the Federal Government have not been deployed to arrest the increasing wave of poverty in the land.”

Falana explained that based on the information he obtained from the National Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had withheld $20bn from the federation account.

He added that from the 2015 audit exercise conducted by NEITI, the figure had increased to $22bn and N376bn.

The lawyer disclosed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had commenced investigation into his petition about the 60.2 million barrels of crude oil stolen from Nigeria between 2011 and 2014 which were discharged at the Philadelphia Port in the United States.

“If the investigation can be painstakingly conducted, it is estimated that not less than $300bn could be realised as the costs and penalties for the oil stolen from Nigeria and discharged in several ports in the United States, China, India, United Kingdom, France,” he said.

AFRICMIL Coordinator, Chido Onumah, stated that the anti-graft war could not be left to the government alone, adding that his organisation’s goal was to sensitise the citizens to their roles in tackling corruption.

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