Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, welcomed a delegation of the United Nations Country delegation who visited his office at the National Assembly, Abuja.
During the visit, Lawan appealed to the delegation while seeking their support for the repatriation of looted funds back to Nigeria.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media), Ezrel Tabiowo, the senate president, noted that the battle against corruption in Nigeria has continued to suffer setbacks as a result of the inability of the government to repatriate looted funds stashed away in foreign countries across the world.
He noted that such resources, if at the disposal of government, would go a long way towards addressing critical developmental and infrastructural deficits faced by the nation.
“When we fight corruption, we do so within and outside. So much of Nigeria’s resources have been taken out of the country. But even when we identify embezzled funds, to get them back to Nigeria is a big deal. And in fact, we are suffering from that for years,” Lawan said.
According to him, Nigeria has had few occasions when we received some repatriation, but the bulk is still out there. Hence, he appealed for the support of the United Nations, noting that such kind of resources which are alleged to have been taken out of Nigeria will make the country a rich country if they are repatriated.
“We have never been a rich country, comparing the resources we have had, and the development challenges facing us till date. We are blessed and endowed, but we need every single kobo to be put into the development of this country,” the senate president added.
Hence, he noted that due to unavailability of funds, the Federal Government resorted to obtaining domestic and foreign loans to fund capital projects in the 2020 budget.
The senate president also shed light on Nigeria’s readiness to meet the 2030 deadline for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stated that, having experienced failures in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past, the SDGs will definitely have a better treatment in the country, because our failures in the past has shown us our areas of weaknesses.
He said, “Already, we are trying to work hard between the parliament and the executive arm of government to close ranks, to focus and remain on those issues out of the seventeen, which will have spin-over effects on others.”
However, Lawan was appreciative of the international body for its “supportive” role to Nigeria in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the country.
“We appreciate the role you play in our country. The UN has been so supportive in many ways, and of course, the recent support you have given is in the area of our response to COVID – 19,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria’s response against the virus was slow, however, “as a country we are now responding very well, and thank God we are also lucky we have very few incidents.