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dimanche, octobre 22, 2006

$380 bn : the price of embezzlement and corruption in Nigeria

This news from a BBC News article stunned me. According to Mr Nuhu Ribadu - who leads the war against coruption in Nigeria as the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission - Nigeria's leaders stole $380 bn since the independence of the country in 1960. "Mr Ribadu said he had come up with his figure of $380bn "easily" through records kept by the Nigerian central bank and the ministry of finance." What the money was used for remains a mystery.What a waste for the population of the Africa's biggest oil producer! This money could largely have benefited them or could have been used to repay some of the country's external debt. According to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s external debt totaled US$35.9 billion at the end-December 2004. (via the European Network on Debt and Development)

Voices raise concerns that Mr Ribadu's revelations are politically motivated and would serve to undermine Mr Obasanjo political's opponents. These findings remains useful, because now we can clearly assess the price of corruption. Whether or not the figure of $380 bn is accurate, whatever the price of embezzlement was, this price is already too high for the African people as a whole. Because for every $ stolen, it is a piece of our future that is wasted, therefore it is unacceptable.