No less than $600 billion illicit financial outflow had been recorded in Nigeria between 1960 and now.
Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, former External Affairs Minister during General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration, disclosed this when he featured on Arise Television Morning show on Monday.
The professor of political science said the illicit outflow of hundreds of billions of dollars from the country did not go without the compromise of international accomplices.
To him, for every one thousand dollars illicitly siphoned from the country, a foreign partner in crime might have gotten his $500 take.
Prof. Akinyemi, therefore, advocates that while these Nigerians who indulge in this illegal transfer of funds are pursued, their foreign partners should also be fished out.
“All those foreign companies operating in Nigeria are also complicit in the transfer of these funds. And what Nigerians don’t often realise is that if a foreign company allows you to take one thousand dollars, be very clear in your mind that he is taking $500 and so it is both sides.
“What I will like to see is, as you are pursuing Nigerians you will also be pursuing foreign companies. I’m sure there are laws abroad which will make a foreign company explain how all of a sudden it is coming back from Nigeria with $500 million profit on a contract. It simply doesn’t make sense and they know this. It is by far easier for them to think that it is us that should pursue our people and not their people. But it ought to be done on both sides,” he said.
On the president’s call for debt relief for poor countries at the United Nations General Assembly, Prof. Akinyemi noted that there is no problem borrowing but warned that the funds borrowed should be properly applied in a way the borrowed funds would generate itself the principal and servicing but not be left to be stolen or mismanaged.
“If we are going to ask for debt relief or forgiveness for ways and manners debts are being handled; we, first of all, have to make sure that the debt is not stolen, is not misapplied, that it is actually used for where it would generate funds for our country.
“To me there is nothing to criticise about borrowing for infrastructure but borrowing money in order to pay for inflated salaries and allowances for the National Assembly is questionable,” he said.