Nigeria’s huge loss to money laundering

Recent revelation about the huge financial loss to Nigeria due to the activities of fraudsters and money launderers shows that the country is in dire straits. It means that if the country does not come down hard on corruption and put in place a strong and deterrent system of sanctions, the future of Nigeria would be continuously bleak.

The revelation was made by no other than the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (LCCIMA), Ismail Bello, quoting a recent report on international financial flows. According to the report, Nigeria loses about $155 billion to money laundering, fraud and other illegal flows.

An important point the report has made is that there is rampant corruption, stealing and criminality in the country and that the country is unable to come to grips with the problem. Though there are laws and penalties for money laundering, fraud and stealing of public funds, in recent times, there has been a total criminal abandonment of the anti-corruption war. This has been made possible by the benign attitude of the present administration in Nigeria which maintains that corruption is not a threat to the future of the country! To keep faith with this mind-set in spite of revelations to the contrary, the view of the President is that he does not believe in wielding the big stick as expected against people accused of corrupt practises.

More than any government in Nigeria’s history, the Jonathan government through indiscriminate granting of waivers and various concessions to prominent individuals, businessmen and religious organisations have contributed to the fleecing of the country and increased the incidence of money laundering. The behaviour of the government is not for any patriotic economic reason but just to be seen as a good one in the eyes of these parasites for its political ambition.

Thus in today’s Nigeria, the corrupt are having a field day while the nation is being drained. Given the lackadaisical attitude of the national leadership, the fight against corruption is now in abeyance, waiting for a new leadership that will take the bull by the horn to fight corruption and stop the flight of national wealth. The result is that once again, like most other corrupt people in the world, Nigerians have commenced the export of money to foreign banks and to acquire choice property abroad. All these goes to shore up the economies of foreign countries mostly in the West, while the Nigerian economy grows on paper and statistics released by the same people in the West.

The result is that following the huge export of capital that would have made life better for many Nigerians by building industries and reducing unemployment, the nation’s economy is left to drift while the present administration parrots daily its so-called transformation programme that has made Nigerians poorer while those in power are having a good time. It is instructive that a recent World Bank report revealed that Nigeriansare very poor now, and are in the same economic condition as the people of war-torn Congo DRC, India and Bangladesh whose problems are a huge population, and lack of natural resources.

If the solution to the problem of illegal transfer of funds or money laundering is to vigorously pursue the anti-corruption war, strengthen legislation against financial crimes, and apply and enforce existing sanctions and punishment regime, then Nigerians have to wait for another political dispensation that will hopefully throw up a patriot who understands and appreciates the havoc which unbridled stealing of national wealth in a nation can do the citizens of thatcountry.

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