News / Africa

    Nigerian Government Accuses Groups, Army Officials of Graft

    FILE - Soldiers are seen on a truck along a road in Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria, May 14, 2015.
    FILE - Soldiers are seen on a truck along a road in Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria, May 14, 2015.
    Peter Clottey

    A spokesman for Nigeria's president says hundreds of millions of dollars in redirected government payments have been discovered as a result of an investigation into the country's former national security adviser.

    An investigative committee has accused 300 organizations, individuals and some army officials of financial malfeasance totaling an estimated $241 million in fraud and overpayments of contracts, says Garba Shehu, spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari. Sambo Dasuki, who was national security adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan has been accused of misappropriating more than $2 billion.

    In an interview with VOA, Shehu says Nigerians have expressed shock at the enormity of embezzlement of money intended to help fight the Islamist extremists group Boko Haram. Boko Haram is blamed for the death of thousands and displaced many more in parts of the country where they often attacked civilians as well as military personnel.

    Impact on military

    Shehu said the embezzlement of funds in the national security adviser’s office contributed to the low morale of soldiers trained to fight the militants in parts of Nigeria’s north.

    “[They] came up with this mind-boggling revelation that as they did with the money for the weapons, they just were sharing money all around. So far, the office of the national security adviser, under its new leadership, has recovered more than 7 billion Naira [$35 million] in... U.S. dollars, euros and in Nigerian currency. And they have asked that another sum of 41 Billion Naira [$206 million] be refunded immediately, and the veracity or ownership of yet another 45 Billion Naira [$ 226 million] would be determined by further investigations. At the end of which government will know whether all of that be returned to the government or perhaps be returned in part,” said Shehu.

    “We are dealing with three sets of lines of corruption. One is a set of people who got money for doing nothing. They were just called and issued money from the office of the national security adviser — purpose not defined. Another set of people and companies, they signed contracts to do certain jobs or undertakings, they got money and they run away. Then the third group, which I said would now be investigated for verification; companies and individuals who got monies to offer services, they may have offered in part but there is no evidence of completion.”

    Boko Haram

    Shehu says since President Buhari’s election the militants face defeat. He also says the heavy security threat previously posed by the militants, has been reduced due to what he says has been a reinvigoration of efforts by security agencies.

    “We are now at the finishing stage of the entire war [with Boko Haram] now. Because government has been able to free funds, monies that would have gone into pockets of military commanders and politicians. They are procuring weapons, they are paying salaries and allowances to military men and the spirit is very high, among our fighting men. So, much of Boko Haram has been minimized,” said Shehu.

    The government has officially stated that it has “technically” defeated Boko Haram. But critics say the militants have not been reduced to just common criminality. They cited recent suicide bombings and cross border attacks in neighboring Cameroon as examples that the government is wrong in its assessment of the fight against Boko Haram.

    Shehu disagreed. He says the fight against Boko Haram has achieved visible success for all to see under Buhari. Shehu also added that the current administration aims to plug loopholes by which former government officials siphoned funds meant to improve the lives of citizens.

    “[Buhari] has succeeded in freeing 3 Trillion Naira [about $3 billion] available in the central bank by blocking several bank accounts and transferring them to the central bank of Nigeria.This is money that is available to be spent on the country. The government will unleash funds on the country the moment the budget is signed. Money to be spent, this money would have been shared by politicians and whatever at the end of the year as the practice used to be,” said Shehu.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora