Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has asked the National Assembly to collaborate with anti-graft agencies for the recovery of oil sale funds lost from the federation’s account.
In a letter sent to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Senior Advocate claimed that about $104bn generated from oil sale have been withheld or diverted from the nation’s coffers.
Falana argued that if the nation can recover the money lost to oil sale, there would be no need to seek foreign loans.
Falana’s letter comes on the heels of an announcement by the Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, stating that Nigeria secured a $3 billion loan from the World Bank in April.
This fund according to Mrs Ahmed, would be used for reforming the nation’s power sector.
However, Falana said the nation would not need to get into debt if the National Assembly can work with the anti-graft agencies to locate and recover the funds he alleges are missing from the country’s purse.
A copy of the letter made available to journalists on Sunday in Abuja, reads in part: “In the course of our work on leakages in the national economy, we discovered that sometime in 2006, the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria illegally withdrew the sum of $7bn from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks.
“For reasons best known to him, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefile, has ignored our persistent demand for the recovery of the principal sum of $7bn and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.
“In the light of the foregoing, it is clear that apart from the expected revenue of $1.5bn from the implementation of the amended Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Contracts Act the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the Federation Account are not less than $103.7bn.
“If the National Assembly, under your able leadership, is prepared to resist pressures from vested interests and muster the political will to recover the said fund, Nigeria will have no business begging for foreign loans from China, African Development Bank and the World Bank.
“Therefore, the National Assembly may wish to collaborate with the anti-graft agencies in the recovery of the said sum of $103.7bn without any delay.”