The pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday told the governors of the 19 Northern States to account for the N8.3 trillion that accrued to their states between 1999 and 2010.
He said there is hardly anything to show for the huge resources at the state and local government levels.
Ribadu, who bared his mind in a paper in Kano at a two-day summit of
Northern Development Focus Initiative(NDFI), lamented that despite the
fact that each of the 414 local governments in the north currently has
budget in excess of that of the entire Northern Region under the late
Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, successive administrations in the
region have failed to meet the expectations of the people.
He blamed the problem on corruption, saying: “We have got a problem
with our country and we all know it and therefore we do not need to be
constantly reminded of it for it is an issue that we confront in our
daily lives, in our schools, and our interaction with the police, in the
army or SSS, customs and immigration offices, prisons, the legislature,
the ministries, hospitals, in our courts and in the private sector as
well like our banks, markets and not to mention, the media are daily
awashed with mind boggling reports on corruption all over the country.
Most of us here may be wondering how and when corruption took charge of
Ribadu said it is unfortunate that 90 per cent of the nation’s resources are being stolen by public officials.
He added: “When Major Nzeogwu made his speech to justify the takeover
of power on January 15th, 1966, he mentioned that the military took
over because the first republic politicians were collecting ten percent
bribes. (Though I am in disagreement with his assumption given the
achievements recorded with the paltry sum) but nonetheless it is
presupposed that at least they were using 90 percent of the resources to
do the work.
“It would be great to pause the question ‘What is happening now’? It
is either the other way around: public officials taking away 90 percent
and using 10 percent to work or even out rightly looting of the
treasury. In fact, from recent reports, a lot of money is stolen from
the source, that it does not even make its way to the treasuries of the
many governments in the country today.
“To be fair, it is important to mention that there is corruption in
every society including all the advanced countries. However the irony is
it has not stopped development. There was corruption in the first
republic too. But it was dealt with effectively and it was not allowed
to be the cancer that it is now. It was not as widespread and as rampant
in scale and magnitude as it is now.
“As I was writing this paper I stumbled on a tweet that got me
thinking that read as follows, “The revenue Nigeria received for the
whole of last year (2012) from the sale of crude oil is more than the
yearly aid, the entire sub Saharan Africa received. Where is the money,
where is the improvement?” This was a question posed to us by the UK
Prime Minister, David Cameron at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The former EFCC chairman decried the under-development of the North
and erosion of the legacies of the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir
He said: “For starters, I would like to take a walk with you down
memory lane on our recent past as a region. Sir Ahmadu Bello the first
and only Premier of Northern Nigeria and his lieutenants, most of
blessed memories, led this vast region effectively for just about a
“Keenly look at what they were able to achieve, largely with
internally generated revenue because there was no oil then or it was
insignificant in the revenue profile of the country. The last annual
budget by the late Sardauna for the whole north was just 44 million
“It is important to state that with this scanty resource, they were
able to maintain law and order and ensure effective security of life and
property for this vast region. They built Ahmadu Bello University , the
largest in sub-Sahara Africa; they built Ahmadu Bello Stadium one of
the largest and best in Africa at that time. They built NNDC, the
largest black owned conglomerate in black Africa; they built many
textile factories, good roads, marketing boards, efficient water supply
where it was available and good sanitation, well planned urban areas
with trees and good hospitals with ambulances; good primary and
secondary schools; Kaduna Polytechnic that is the largest in black
“Northern Nigeria which Sir Ahmadu Bello led at independence is now
19 states, the federal capital territory Abuja and 414 local government
areas. These 19 states and over four hundred local government areas got a
total of N8.3 trillion from the federation account between 1999 and
“ We know quite well that every one of these local government areas
has budgets per annum that is more than the budget of the entire
northern region of old. Can we please emulate the glowing examples of
“My take is that they were not corrupt and that was the reason they
achieved so much with so little. What is really happening now with all
these huge sums have?
“These local government areas do not even repair township drainages.
They do not maintain existing markets and motor parks amongst many other
things that would take a while to mention.
“Nobody knows what they generate as revenue internally because all
the sums quoted in the reports and newspapers are just what they get
from the federation account monthly. They hardly meet in council except
when there are subventions to be shared.
“The state governments are mostly not fairing any better. Some of the
states have governors that are doing some commendable developmental
initiatives but many of them just need our prayers. Governance has been
reduced to periodic elections. Once a governor gets elected, he or she
will start planning for a second term; and as soon he or she gets a
second term, the scheme to be president or vice president will start
“For those who are not going to be either president or vice
president, the retirement house for many governors is now the Senate on
top of installing his preferred successor.
Ribadu also carpeted the Legislature and the Judiciary at all levels for not living to expectations.
He said: “Today, if the legislators are doing their work effectively,
many who are appointed ministers or commissioners wouldn’t have been
“Their oversight functions are now reduced to visit to ministries and
agencies to get packages. Even monies that are appropriated as budgets,
the committees of the legislature are part of those being awarded
contracts by these departments in addition to their very generous
constituency allowance that is not subject to any check and balances.
“To make matters worse, many legislators, especially from the
northern states, hardly attend sittings to defend the interests of their
constituents. They are mostly busy traveling to various parts of the
world with their new found wealth.
“There are a few of them who are very good but I do not know when
most of these distinguished and honourables will sit down to really
distinguish themselves in their primary duties of making laws for the
good governance of the society.
“The judiciary is supposed to be the last hope of the common man.
Justice is an attribute of God and is the real foundation of any
egalitarian society. It is sad to say that the judiciary in Nigeria has
of recent times become the main legitimizing institution for any corrupt