58 Ex-governors Embezzled N2.187 Trillion – EFCC

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In a startling revelation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused no fewer than 58 former governors of looting, embezzling, laundering, or misappropriating a staggering sum of N2.187 trillion over a span of 25 years. This astronomical figure excludes seized properties across the globe and other assets under investigation, which amount to billions of Naira.

The EFCC’s allegations paint a grim picture of corruption at the highest levels of Nigeria’s state governments. The looted N2.2 trillion is equivalent to the entire 2024 budget of Lagos State, valued at N2.25 trillion, as well as the combined budgets of all the South-East states in the same year, totaling N2.29 trillion. Notably, this sum surpasses the budgets of both the North-Central and North-East states for 2024.

The 58 former governors under EFCC scrutiny hail from various regions of the country, reflecting the widespread nature of the alleged corruption. Since the inception of civil rule on May 29, 1999, Nigeria has seen a total of 170 governors across its 36 states.

A breakdown of the governorship landscape reveals significant variations among states. For instance, Abia State has seen four governors, including notable figures like Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji. Conversely, Ekiti State, despite being the second least populated state in Nigeria, has witnessed a revolving door of eight governors within the same period, indicating a high turnover rate.

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Furthermore, the EFCC’s data highlights the complex legal battles faced by some former governors. While 18 governors served in acting capacities or had their elections annulled, 36 are currently serving, and 114 completed their terms. Only four former governors have been convicted of fraud-related charges, including prominent figures like Lucky Igbinedion and James Ibori.

Despite the EFCC’s aggressive prosecution efforts, no former governor has been among the 6,981 individuals convicted of fraud by the commission between 2020 and 2022. However, cases against several ex-governors are still pending, while others have been dismissed or resulted in acquittals.

The EFCC’s list of former governors under investigation includes names like Timipre Sylva, Ayo Fayose, and Peter Odili, with alleged amounts ranging from billions to hundreds of millions of Naira. The commission has vowed to revisit cases involving a total of N772 billion against 13 former governors, signaling its determination to hold corrupt officials accountable.

Amidst allegations of operating a Ponzi scheme, retired Commissioner of Police Aderemi Adedoye has come under scrutiny for his involvement in an investment club. Adedoye, who vehemently denies any wrongdoing, asserts that the club operates legally and transparently, with assets valued at around N20 billion.

The EFCC’s pursuit of justice against corrupt officials underscores the ongoing battle against graft in Nigeria. As investigations continue and legal proceedings unfold, the fate of these former governors hangs in the balance, with accountability and transparency at the forefront of public discourse.

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