by Ranti Joseph
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the current Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, said the Federal Government has not adequately addressed the issues surrounding the missing $20bn oil money.
Sanusi said during an interview with Christiane Amanpour on the Cable News Network on Wednesday, that the level of corruption in the oil sector was still high stating an instance when no one had accounted for the billions of dollars paid in kerosene subsidy, which was not approved by the National Assembly.
Sanusi added that Nigeria’s economic crisis caused by the fall in oil prices, the stock market crash and the devaluation of the naira, was due to the mismanagement of oil funds.
“My position in the Central Bank was that there was always this gap of $20bn after reconciliation between what the NNPC exported and what it deposited into the Federation Account. I raised a number of issues that I think have not yet been discussed and addressed sufficiently.”
“One of them is the billions of dollars being paid in kerosene subsidies without appropriation by the National Assembly and against a presidential order and we don’t know who authorized those payments and yet no one has owned up to say I authorized the payments, I made a mistake. It must stop.”
“I think those issues need to be addressed and until we address them and begin to close all the loopholes in government revenues, we are going to continue to create opportunity for the destruction of the economy,” he said.
“It could be $20bn at the end of the day. After reconciliation it could amount to $14bn or $12bn and I think these issues reflect unconstitutional and illegal withholding of revenues from the Federation Account. The country is paying the price today; oil prices have crashed, the currency has been devalued, the stock market has collapsed, government revenues are in a very bad shape.”
“Whoever wins, whether this government or the opposition, will have to deal with these issues. The petroleum sector is a major drain on the resources of the country and this has to be looked at,” he added.
Sanusi, who said the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari was right to say that corruption was killing Nigeria, added that Nigeria must stop living in denial.
He praised the military for its recent successes in the fight against terrorism, saying Boko Haram would have been curtailed if the anti-terror war had started a long time ago.
Reacting to a question about threats by Boko Haram to kill him, he said: “If I had a way of knowing that if Boko Haram took my life, they would stop killing people in Nigeria, I would give my life. I have nothing else to aspire to, I have achieved. I think the important thing is for every Muslim leader to speak up,” Sanusi said.