Amnesty for all looters of Nigeria’s finances is what the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Akpan Bassey advocates. According to him, “let every Nigerian that has taken money out of this country be given amnesty to bring back the money and invest in the country.”
Speaking with journalists in his office on Monday, Senator Akpan explained that Nigeria currently has hundreds of billions of dollars stashed in various banks abroad where they are used by those foreign countries to boost their economy, while Nigerians are suffering.
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In his own words the Senator said:
“The time has come when we have to think outside the box and my own position is this, it is possible that the government can declare amnesty on stolen money. Let every Nigerian that has taken money out of this country be given amnesty to bring back the money and invest in the country.
“We have hundreds of billions of dollars stashed outside the country in the international banks which are being used to drive their economy. Other countries are enjoying this money while we are suffering in Nigeria.
“When owners of the Nigeria’s stolen foreign currencies bring them back to the country as a result of the amnesty, a lot of foreign exchange can be generated to fund our local consumption and we can set target.”
According to him, the amnesty process would encourage those who had stashed the nation’s money in foreign banks to bring back about 70 percent of the money and invest in Nigeria’s economy.
He described as unnecessary, the current pains, which an average Nigerian was being subjected to when the government have what it takes to turn the economy around in their favour.
“Why are we suffering in the midst of plenty? Amnesty was created for militancy, we should create amnesty for anybody that has taken money outside this country so that they can invest them in the country. We can generate a hundred billion dollar in the process in less than six months.
“We need enough forex to fund our importation, rebuild our industries, establish capacity locally and import raw materials for industries before thinking of exporting finished products.”
Where we are as a country now, we should begin to look inward, Senator Akpan said.
“One thing is to fight corruption another thing is to let your battle as a fighter of corruption yield the appropriate results. Our economy based on the statistics available to us has gone into full blown recession. There is reduction in revenue collection based on the basis of oil export because of the dwindling global oil crisis.
“The cost of producing a barrel of crude in Nigeria is about $35 per barrel and it is being sold for $48. That means that as a country we earn less than $13 per barrel.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran and other co-OPEC countries had fallen back on their quantity to meet up their demands but in Nigeria, where we are losing 800 barrels of oil per day when we are also supposed to be boosting our production.
“We are expected to use income from oil to develop other sectors of the economy. That is why I believe very strongly that, since some countries had also done it in the past, Nigeria also needs to grant amnesty to those who are in possession of our money that we need to develop,” Senator Akpan concluded.
It is recalled that Senator Akpan was earlier arrested and detained by EFCC for three days before he was released on administrative bail. The source said he was charged for oil thefts and other money laundry related matters.