The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has called on Nigerians in the Diaspora, to join hands with the anti-graft agency in order to form an international-oriented united front against corruption as it is the only way to move Nigeria forward in its quest for economic development, political stability and social justice.
Magu was speaking as a guest speaker at the Nigerian American Business Forum, an international networking event for top industry executives and entrepreneurs in Tampa, Florida, United States, which held on January 26 and 27, 2019.
“Considering that Nigeria has one of the most resilient, hardworking, intelligent and resourceful people in the Diaspora, in every field of human endeavour, it would be very tragic if we failed to tap this immense potential,” he said.
In a presentation titled, “Entrepreneurship in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities”, Magu who spoke through the EFCC’s Director of Planning, Policy and Statistics, Dr. Ibrahim Gusau, commended Nigerians in the Diaspora, for giving back to their Fatherland, noting that “it is on record that Nigerians in the Diaspora have remitted an average $22 billion annually in the last two years.
“This represents one of the highest remittals in the world, by Diasporas to their home country, and so undoubtedly, you have a vital role to play in helping in this great fight against corruption,” he said.
According to him, “there is the need for everyone to not only talk of corruption, but earnestly talk about anti-corruption and participate in actions that will mitigate corrupt practices such as engaging in whistle blowing or proffering solutions and applications that can help to prevent or avoid, or even totally eradicate corruption”.
He used the opportunity to charge Nigerians in the Diaspora to partner with the EFCC in designing successful templates that will help in addressing “our efficiencies, ineffectiveness, and other issues that affect our general productive systems”.
“This partnership will specifically aim at addressing major issues in Nigeria such as corruption,” he said, adding that, “business leaders in Nigeria and the Diaspora need to address and possibly initiate effective ways on how best to overcome these problems for Nigeria to grow and thrive”.
In a bid to further assure foreign investors who want to invest in Nigeria of the safety of their investments, Magu stressed that the EFCC had put in place mechanism to “protect” them, as its efforts have ensured sanity in the business sector.
He said: “In July 2018, the EFCC received a petition on behalf of some European Development Finance Institutions based in Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Netherlands, which engaged in businesses of promoting sustainable development in developing countries and emerging economies, including Nigeria.
“As at June 20, 2018 they were supposed to have received $9,502,200.10, €3,430,107.55 and N1,374,793,675 as returns on their investment as agreed, but there was no sign of getting such returns, hence, the investors became apprehensive and petitioned the Aquila Leasing Limited and its affiliated companies to the EFCC.
“I am delighted to share with you that the EFCC went into action and thus far, more than N2 billion has been recovered and more will soon be realized until every kobo has been recovered.”
Magu, however, challenged them not to indulge in any form of corrupt practices, nor aid those who are adept at looting the treasury of the Nigeria, and stashing them abroad through illegitimate fronting companies.
“The ripple effects of our action or inaction today, will come to bear, not just on our children, but generations yet unborn,” he said.
The Forum, which had in attendance members of the Nigerian business community in the United States, was attended by Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa and Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof Moji Adeyeye.