19th July, 2010
The report that the government of the United States of America would start revoking the visas of corrupt Nigerian government officials is a welcome development as this would go a long way in discouraging thieving Nigerian officials from taking their loot to America or enjoying same there. The clampdown should be extended to non-government officials who also loot their companiesâ€™ treasuries and stash the loot in foreign banks.
Professor Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeriaâ€™s Ambassador to the United States, told reporters in Washington D.C. at the weekend that war against corruption remains key to President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s administration. According to him, â€œI have not been officially informed (about the revocation of visas) but if my opinion is sought, I will support any move to discourage corruption. They should not revoke only their visas but also those of their children and families, not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa.â€
For too long, corrupt Nigerian government officials and looters in the private sector, have stolen so much and stashed away in foreign banks. They used the stolen funds to buy mansions and choice properties in highbrow areas in foreign lands. They sent their children to the best and most expensive higher institutions of learning abroad while the children of ordinary Nigerians could not afford to go to the local universities.
This unbridled corruption is at the root of the pervasive poverty in our country. It will take the concerted efforts of the Nigerian government and other countries where Nigeriaâ€™s stolen money is kept to bring the kleptomaniacs to their knees. We want other countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, etc. to take a cue from U.S. and clampdown on Nigerian government officials linked to corruption by revoking their visas. When they do not have anywhere to take their loot to, they will think twice before they dip their hands into the public till and steal what they and their families cannot even spend throughout lifetimes.
The FederalÂ Government should explore all diplomatic avenues to convince leaders of nations where Nigerian rogues usually keep their loot to expose such thieves. It is not enough for such countries to pretend to assist Nigeria fight corruption while looking the other way when the thieves wire their stolen funds into bank accounts in their countries.
The Federal Government must step up the war against corruption as the bulk of money usually stolen in the country is taken away by government officials. Corruption will continue to fester as long as government officials and chief executive officers of banks and other high profile corporate organisations could easily siphon stolen funds out of the country. The government should cash in on the visa revocation by the U.S. and end the era whereby corrupt Nigerians stole public funds with impunity and flaunted their wealth at home and overseas. There should be no hiding place for the rogues.