A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has called on the Federal Government to muster “the political will and courage” to recover “withheld or stolen wealth of not less than $200 billion belonging to the Nigerian people” instead of taking fresh loans.
In a letter dated April 8, 2016, which was addressed to the Minister of Finance, the human rights lawyer threatened to initiate legal proceedings at the Federal High Court in order to restrain the Federal Government from further plunging the nation into external indebtedness if it failed to accede to the request.
Part of the letter titled “Request for the Collection of Outstanding Revenue of $200 Billion Withheld from the Federation Account or Stolen by Looters”, read: “Following a recent report that the Federal Government had concluded arrangements take a loan of $2.5 billion from the World Bank and $1 billion the African Development Bank, we wrote to the administration requested to jettison the plan.
“In our letter dated February 12, 2016, addressed to your good self, we urged the Federal Government to explore alternative sources of raising revenue to fund the 2016 budget instead of increasing the nation's external debt of $64 billion. In particular, we requested the federal government to embark on the recovery of the revenue of $42 billion withheld from the Federation Account from 1999-2012 by some transnational oil companies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other agencies of the federal government.
“In your reply dated March 17, 2016, you assured us that the issues raised in our letter were receiving the attention of the Federal Government. We were, therefore, surprised to learn that the administration had applied to the Chinese Government for another loan of $2 billion.
“In urging the Federal Government to desist from taking the loan of $2 billion from China or any other country, we are compelled to advise the Federal Government to intensify efforts to recover the nation's wealth which has been criminally diverted by a handful of local and foreign looters. The Federal Government may wish to direct the relevant agencies and the anti-graft bodies to collect the stolen wealth…”
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