By Rafiu Ajakaye
At least 6 percent of Nigeria’s $28.2 billion budget for 2018 will be funded partly with money recovered from corrupt officials, the government said on Friday, calling on citizens to continue to back the fight against graft.
“In 2018, 500 billion naira ($1.6bn) from what has been recovered is going to be used to fund the budget,” Itse Sagay, law professor and chairman of the presidential advisory committee, said in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
“Regardless of what some elites, who I think are the beneficiaries of corruption, are saying, the anti-corruption efforts have been extremely successful,” he added, referring to criticisms that have dogged the campaign.
The fight against corruption is one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s three major campaign pledges, but critics claim the assault has been targeted mainly at the opposition. The government denies the charge.
Ibrahim Magu, head of the country's anti-graft agency, said on Wednesday that the country has recovered some $2.9 billion in two years -- and that at least $43 million of the amount was recovered from former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is standing trial.
The administration said it favors assets recovery over dragging culprits before judges, apparently to save time and cost to the government.