Is there a link between the security vote and insecurity in the country?
This is the million-dollar question the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu tried to address when he interacted with the returning and newly elected governors.
The occasion was the Induction program organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat for the returning and incoming governors.
Magu who was direct told the governors that some chief executive of states ‘now covertly promote insecurity as justification to inflate their security vote.’
Though did not go into the debate on the constitutionality of security vote, he, however, warned the governors in the need to be transparent in the expenditure of public funds.
The EFCC chairman, who presented a paper tagged “Imperative of Fighting Corruption/Terrorism Financing in Nigeria” said, “we have also seen evidence of theft of public resources by some state governors – cashing on the insecurity in their states.”
According to the anti-graft boss, “insecurity has also offered the required oxygen for corruption to thrive as evident in the $2.1bn arms procurement scandal involving top military commanders both serving and retired.”
He further stressed that corruption can also not be divorced from the festering insurgency in the Northeast; explaining that the nexus between corruption and terrorism is that corruption promotes insecurity.
According to him, “Mass poverty in the region due in part to corruption by the ruling elite, is largely to blame for the ease with which the islamists are able to recruit fighters to sustain their aggression against the Nigerian state.”
Magu further pointed out that the militancy in the Niger Delta and insurgency in the Northeast are by-products of corruption.
“As an investigator, I am shocked by the quantum of resources stolen from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by those who run the intervention agency. It is so bad that even a mere personal assistant to a former Managing Director was charged for stealing over N3 billion,” the EFCC Chairman said.
He, therefore, tasked in-coming and returning governors on the need to shun corruption.
According to him, “whether we like it or not, corruption and terrorism have become the twin evils, undermining our collective efforts to make Nigeria a truly great country.”
He further stated that Nigeria’s failure to take full advantage of its natural resources could also be attributed to corruption as public office holders are in the habit of constantly pillaging public resources.
The anti-corruption czar observed that the country’s loss to corruption in the last decade runs into trillions of Naira, noting that a review of the recoveries between 2017 and now, shows that in 2017, the EFCC recovered N473.065billion, $98million, €7million and £294,000, while N236.16billion was recovered in 2018, which give just an insight into what had been stolen so far.