Abuja – Human Rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called on the Federal Government to adopt an “aggressive policy” to recover looted funds and stop asking for loans.
Falana said this on the side line of an event to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day organised by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja on Thursday.
“People have stolen our money, why are you begging them to return it? We need to fight them and collect the money; we do not need loans that will mortgage the future of our country.
“The government is asking for a loan of $29.6 billion and we have more than that to recover,” he said.
He called on the U.S Government to intervene and also urged anti-graft agencies to enhance cooperation to ensure the recovery of such funds.
He said that the Federal Government’s current plan to recover stolen loots of past administrations would not get the country out of its economic crisis.
” For instance, $458 million has been forfeited in the U.S.; Nigeria has filed an application before the High Court in Jersey where the money was traced to.
“But the U.S. Government has filed an objection to the release of the money to the government of Nigeria, claiming the money should be paid to the U.S Government to be managed for Nigeria.
“We also have some money to collect from the Swiss Government; the Swiss Government is illegally saying that they are not going to release this money unless the World Bank is ready to supervise the management of the fund.”
Falana added, “Unfortunately, the government (Nigeria) is not challenging such violations of our sovereign rights as a nation.
“Unless the Federal Government is prepared to adopt an aggressive policy against western governments and their very corrupt financial institutions, we are not going to come out of this mess.”
He said that the Federal Government’s request for loans would be detrimental to the future of the country.
Falana further called on Nigeria media to join the campaign of the return of the country’s looted wealth.
“The Financial Times Magazine of the UK wrote an editorial asking the UK Government to release not less than one billion pounds instead of giving us aid; the Nigerian media should join the campaign,” he said.