By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) has disclosed that about $32bn was lost to corruption during the six-year administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Debbie Palmer, Head of Office, DFID Nigeria, said this at the expression undergraduate debates challenge to celebrate this year’s international anti-corruption day.
Palmer said the huge amount represented 16 per cent of the previous government’s resources that could have been channeled to development.
The event was organized by a non-governmental organization, Youngstars Foundation Initiative in Abuja.
She said millions of dollars tied up in legal challenges remained in other countries.
Palmer said: “An independent report estimates up to $32bn was lost to corruption under the previous government. This is around 15 percent of state resources during the period and could well be an under-estimate.
“So the estimate is that nearly 16 of the previous government’s money was lost to corruption. That is a staggering amount of money. And that is money that is lost to all of you and to your future. That is why we all should care about corruption.
“Millions of dollars also remain in other jurisdictions tied up in legal challenges.”
Palmer said youths in the country have a critical role to play in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft fight.
She added that the UK is committed to supporting Nigeria to tackle corruption in all its various forms through its anti-corruption programme in Nigeria.
Palmer said: “Youths have a critical role to play in all these areas as Africa’s and agents of change because youth is the future. Young people are our future. That’s why it is important to engage with you, to be able to hear your views about corruption because you are our future.
“The UK is committed to supporting Nigeria to tackle corruption in all its various forms and through our anti-corruption programme in Nigeria. We have started delivering a range of support to both government and civil society organizations.
“Because the future of this country matter to youth and the real cost of corruption will be felt more severely in future years. It will cost you money. It will cost you freedoms, it will cost you economic opportunities and so you should care.
“Our anti-corruption programme aims to strengthen the demands of groups and individuals like you in pressing for societal change, and also government in responding to such demands through stronger systems and sanctions.
In his remarks, Bulus Dabit, Chairman Board of Directors, Youngstars Development Initiative, noted that corruption in public sector had drawn Nigeria backwards.
“Our infrastructural deficit is as a result of corruption in the society. Corruption in the public sector is the one that is worrisome because the public sector is the driver of the economy,” he said.
Kingsley Bangwell, President, Youngstars Development Initiative, called for adequate reforms of the public sector.
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