The Christian Association of Nigerians Americans, (CANAN) has pleaded with developed nations to help in reviving Nigeria’s ailing economy by returning the country’s looted money stashed in their banks.
Executive director of CANAN, Dr. Ade Oyesile in a statement in New York, indicated that such money, which runs into billions of dollars, would be handy to pay civil servants both outstanding and current salaries running into months of arrears.
Referring to a recent statement credited to Nigeria’s Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed, who put the amount of looted funds at $6.8 billion between year 2006 and 2013, he said, “the government can use those funds to cushion the very painful effects the removal of oil subsidies is having on civil servants in the country”.
While commending United States for agreeing to return about $480 million believed to have been looted by late dictator, General Sani Abacha and his family; Dr. Oyesile pleaded that both governments should expedite action on the terms and conditions for the repatriation of the cash in the interest of the Nigeria’s ailing economy. One of the conditions is for the US to advise on specific areas to spend the funds to avoid the cash being re-looted.
He called on other nations where Nigeria’s looted money is stashed particularly other western nations to emulate the US and show confidence in the financial accountability posture of the Buhari administration to return her looted money. Only recently, President Muhammed Buhari said that Nigerians are “becoming impatient” with the process of repatriating stolen public funds, which he lamented, has “become tedious”.
Speaking at a meeting in Abuja with the executive secretary of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, Buhari said: “we are looking for more cooperation from the EU, United States, other countries and international institutions to recover the nation’s stolen assets”.
In October 2015, British and Swiss governments pledged to return looted Nigerian money stashed in various private bank accounts in their countries. Both countries promised to work with the Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), and other anti-graft agencies in the fight against official corruption and theft.
British High Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright, and Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Eric Mayoraz made the promises at separate audiences with President Buhari.
CANAN became interested in the return of this money because of the undue long process it has taken for some developed countries to act even in view of the hard economic realities Nigeria is facing in the wake of dwindling oil price at the international market, Oyesile, who is also a financial expert, pointed out.
Formed in November 2013, CANAN campaigned for and realized the designation of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US government, going against strong opposition of the opposition in the Nigerian government. CANAN was at the vanguard of Bring Back Our Girls in the US and has contributed significantly to the plight of victims of the nefarious activities.