Bassey Akpan, the chairman of the Senate committee on gas, has said that owners of Nigeria’s stolen money stashed in the various banks all over the world should be granted special amnesty.
Akpan expressed his opinion on Monday, May 23, while addressing journalists in his office, The Punch reports.
The senator said that Nigeria has hundreds of billions of dollars stashed in various banks abroad. However, the countries where the stolen money kept are using them to drive their own economy, while Nigerians are suffering.
“The time has come when we have to think outside the box and my own position is this, it is possible that the government can declare amnesty on stolen money. Let every Nigerian that has taken money out of this country be given amnesty to bring back the money and invest in the country.”
“When owners of the Nigeria’s stolen foreign currencies bring them back to the country as a result of the amnesty, a lot of foreign exchange can be generated to fund our local consumption and we can set target,” he said.
Akpan said those who had stolen the nation’s money should be encouraged to bring it back and invest in Nigeria’s economy.
Describing the current pains as unnecessary, the senator expressed assurance that the federal government has what it takes to turn around the economy.
“Why are we suffering in the midst of plenty? Amnesty was created for militancy, we should create amnesty for anybody that has taken money outside this country so that they can invest them in the country. We can generate a hundred billion dollar in the process in less than six months.
“We need enough forex to fund our importation, rebuild our industries, establish capacity locally and import raw materials for industries before thinking of exporting finished products. Where we are as a country now, we should begin to look inward,” he noted.
Akpan stressed that the government should not only fight corruption, but let its battle yield the appropriate results.
“Our economy based on the statistics available to us has gone into full blown recession. There is reduction in revenue collection based on the basis of oil export because of the dwindling global oil crisis.
“The cost of producing a barrel of crude in Nigeria is about $35 per barrel and it is being sold for $48. That means that as a country we earn less than $13 per barrel.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran and other co-OPEC countries had fallen back on their quantity to meet up their demands but in Nigeria, where we are losing 800 barrels of oil per day when we are also supposed to be boosting our production. We are expected to use income from oil to develop other sectors of the economy,” he said.
Recalling that some countries had done it in the past, Akpan concluded that Nigeria also needs to grant amnesty to those who are in possession of stolen funds as the country urgently needs money for development.
Meanwhile, David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, has revealed the plan to speed up international efforts on asset recovery for Nigeria.
According to him, a new plan will stop corrupt individuals and countries from moving, laundering and hiding illicit funds through London’s property market.