Former World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Tuesday said an estimated $400 billion of Nigeria’s oil revenue has been stolen or misspent since the country’s independence in 1960.
She also declared that while oil accounted for about 90 per cent of the value of the country’s exports, over 80 per cent of that money ended up in the hands of one percent of the population.
Presenting a paper titled. “Corruption, National Development, The Bar and The Judiciary” at the ongoing 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) holding in Abuja, Ezekwesili noted that the fight against corruption and demand for good governance must go beyond the actions or efforts of government.
According to her, poor governance of public resources and assets in Nigeria is worsening at every level of government, across institutions of state, the private sector and fast engulfing the wider society.
“An estimated $400 billion of the country’s oil revenue had been stolen or misspent since the country’s independence in 1960″ she declared,” she added.
Ezekwesili, said the Global Financial Integrity estimated that between 1970 and 2008 Africa lost more than $854 billion in illicit financial outflows, an amount which she said was far in excess of official development inflows.
She stated that civil society organisations, the NBA and the nation’s judiciary and non-state actors could play a significant role in making public budgeting more transparent and accountable.
She noted that an independent judiciary was important for preserving the rule of law.
According to her, the judicial system had important roles to play ultimately in ensuring better public governance.
She said: “There is no area where the judgment of the Supreme Court has not played a significant role in the good governance of any nation whether in environment, human rights, gender justice, education, minorities, police reforms among other.
“Nigerians are at once disappointed and worried for the legal profession and the entire justice system.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Lucius Nwosu, SAN condemned the plans by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to print N5,000 notes noting that it would further increase corruption in the system.
“The plan by the CBN to print N5,000 notes will only escalate corruption in the country, it is sacrilegious for the CBN Governor to say they are going to use N300 billion to print the new notes.”