‘Looting of public funds attracts wrath of Allah’
The Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, who condemned the act in a statement made available to The Guardian, said for impoverishing the very people they are supposed to serve, looters of public funds should be treated as financial terrorists.
He added: “Aiding and abetting looters in any form constitute financial terrorism while Western countries who create legal bottlenecks or clogs in the wheel of repatriation of stolen funds are neo-imperialists cum sponsors of financial terrorism. It is needless to say that financial terrorism is the mother of all terrorism.
He therefore frowned at the West’s unnecessary delay in the repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria, adding that, “It amounts to stealing by proxy, neo-imperialism and financial terrorism,”
According to him, the lion share of the looted funds has been traced to Western countries, but instead of releasing the money, these countries have engaged in procrastinations and conspiracies for reasons best known to them.
“The funds are sometimes released in trickles. “For example Switzerland has kept the Abacha loot for about 20 years. It returned $723 million to Nigeria over a period of ten years whereas about N218 billion of the same Abacha loot alone (among many others) is still being kept in Swiss custody to date. This is outrageous and therefore unacceptable. Piecemeal return of stolen funds indicate reluctance to release funds belonging to poor countries,” he said.
Akintola stressed that the Western democracy and capitalism constitute threats to the developing world and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as long as the propagators and ideologues continue to allow assets stolen from developing countries to remain in their vaults.
He said: “It is hypocritical to preach transparency and good governance yet benefit from funds looted from poor countries. There can be no true globalization until socio-economic justice is entrenched at the international level.
He therefore called for concerted efforts aimed at developing an international legal framework for ensuring speedy and unconditional return of stolen funds to countries, which are confirmed as owners.
Akintola suggested that a short timeframe should be adopted by the United Nations (UN) for any country to keep money looted from another. “The UN should treat countries, which exceed the deadline for the repatriation of stolen funds as receivers of stolen money, international thieves and financial terrorists.”
“Such countries should be blacklisted by the World Bank while commensurate sanctions should be applied on them. Leaders of such countries who sit tight on money stolen from developing countries should be tried at the International Court of Justice at the Hague for financial terrorism and crimes against humanity,” he suggested.
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