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Former Nigerian Governors Allegedly Looted N2.2 Trillion in 25 Years: EFCC Investigation

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleges that a total of 58 former governors of Nigeria have been implicated in various cases of looting, embezzlement, laundering, or misappropriation of funds amounting to a jaw-dropping N2.187 trillion over the span of 25 years.

This figure, according to EFCC sources, does not even include seized properties globally or other assets under investigation, which could potentially increase the total amount involved.

The N2.2 trillion embezzled reportedly equals the combined 2024 budgets of Lagos State at N2.25 trillion and the entire South-East states’ budget at N2.29 trillion, surpassing even the North-Central states’ budget of N1.89 trillion and the North-East’s N1.60 trillion.

The former governors implicated in these alleged financial malpractices hail from all corners of the nation, representing a widespread issue across the country’s political landscape.

Since the return to civilian rule on May 29, 1999, Nigeria has seen a total of 170 governors across its 36 states. This staggering number illustrates the scale of governance turnover within a relatively short timeframe.

A breakdown of the governors by state reveals significant turnover in some regions. For instance, Ekiti State, despite being one of Nigeria’s least populated states, has seen eight different governors in the same period, the highest among all states.

Meanwhile, Lagos State, one of the nation’s economic hubs, has had a stable number of four governors.

Among these governors, 18 were either acting or had their elections nullified by courts, while the remaining 36 are currently serving in various capacities. The majority, a total of 114 governors, served for one or two terms.

Of the 134 former governors, a staggering 58 have been entangled in various legal battles with the EFCC over allegations of financial impropriety.

Notably, only four of these former governors have been convicted thus far, including Chief Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State, late DSP Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, and Joshua Dariye of Plateau State.

Remarkably, despite the EFCC’s significant efforts in prosecuting financial crimes, none of the 6,981 individuals convicted by the commission between 2020 and 2022 were former governors.

This raises questions about the challenges of prosecuting high-profile cases and the complexities involved in holding powerful individuals to account.

The EFCC’s investigations have targeted a wide array of former governors, with alleged amounts involved ranging from billions to hundreds of millions of Naira.

Prominent figures such as Orji Uzor Kalu, Kayode Fayemi, Ayo Fayose, and Peter Odili are among those named in the allegations.

While some cases have resulted in acquittals or dismissals due to lack of diligent prosecution, others remain ongoing or have been reopened by the EFCC.

Despite claims of innocence and allegations of political witch-hunts, the EFCC appears determined to pursue justice and hold accountable those implicated in financial malfeasance.

As the investigations continue, the nation watches closely to see if these allegations will lead to further convictions or if they will become yet another chapter in Nigeria’s complex political landscape.

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