Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings has canvassed a global campaign for the return of Nigeria’s stolen funds stashed away in developed countries.
According to him, the international community should spearhead the initiative in a manner similar to that for the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls.
Rawlings, who spoke to The Guardian in Ghana on the outcome of the recent high-level London Conference on Corruption, charged developed countries to pay more than lip-service to the return of the funds to Nigeria and some other countries.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that those who looted the common treasury would not know peace unless they returned what they stole as the administration would continue to turn the heat on them.
Rawlings said: “The high-level London conference on corruption offers an opportunity not only for countries in Africa and the developing world to revise and enhance their strategies for combating corruption, but also for developed countries whose banks have served as a safe haven for stolen wealth from Africa and elsewhere to repatriate those funds.
“I also implore the international community to join the chorus for the return of the loot, especially to a country like Nigeria while she enjoys the leadership of a proven man of integrity.”
He took a swipe at the developed countries who organise anti-corruption workshops with no concrete action to address issues that concern them.“Let us stop this support and mere conference of words and follow up with serious deeds. The commitment to corruption should work both ways. Developed countries cannot continue to harbour illegally-acquired funds from Africa and expect the latter to successfully stem the source of corruption.
“If we could transmit the integrity from our culture and various languages into the Western language and behaviour we’ve adopted, we could end up restoring the needed level of integrity to create a more civilised behaviour. In other words, we will be restoring integrity and credibility back to the spoken word.”
“Let me speak about these characters corrupting us and sending our loot into their economies as part and parcel of their capitalist programme. When you begin to speak up, they get nervous. They resent and they don’t like nationalists, pan- Africanists. When the time comes, they would sacrifice you and keep your loot.
“Let’s put pressure on those African governments to bring those stolen monies out. Obama and his friends should give them sleepless nights just like the way we handled the Chibok girls’ issue. Let’s go beyond roundtable meetings. The Commonwealth should be made to serve a better purpose. This calls for a loud noise.
“From London to Switzerland, they are holding on to these stolen monies with impunity. More pressure is needed from all angles. Obama, the whole lot of them should pitch in and not do what they are doing in South America, in Brazil. Some of us can see through it.
“When they have leaders with socialist inclinations, they would want to rout them out of office the way it is happening over there. No, that is not good enough. We can see through it. It is a pity.”
Rawlings, who is regarded as an anti-corruption crusader, also reviewed the level of morality in African society and prescribed lie detector tests for courtrooms.
His words: “Attaching lie detector tests to courthouses could go a long way in restoring the culture of truthfulness, justice and social stability. Time and money would be saved adjudicating on the issues.
“If only lie detector machines could be attached to the lying mouths of some of these so-called professional journalists and commentators, our society would stay focused and the lift-off in the society will also become inevitable. Any loss of lift will not undermine the stability of our society.”
Buhari made the appeal to looters of public funds yesterday when he received a delegation of residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who came to pay him the traditional Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The President added: “Please tell those with plenty of money which does not belong to them to try and negotiate and return it in peace, so that both they and us will be in peace, otherwise we will continue to look for it and they won’t know any peace.”