The World Bank has supported calls for Nigeria’s President-elect, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to investigate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over allegations of non-remittance of crude oil receipts to the Federation Account.
Speaking in a video conference from Washington to journalists from across Africa on the release of the bank’s analysis of issues shaping the continent entitled, ‘Africa’s Pulse’ Monday, top officials of the bank also praised President Goodluck Jonathan for exhibiting political maturity following his concession of defeat even before the final declaration of results for the March 28 presidential election.
The World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Mr. Francisco Ferreira, said looking into financial records of the country, especially allegation of corruption at the NNPC, would check impunity and build public institutions in the future.
He said, “One norm that has to change is the norm of impunity. I am from Brazil myself. So I am also used to a country where people could be corrupt and escape justice. That keeps the people to keep doing it.
“So, the current stand of the government-elect to look into what happened in the past hopefully will have consequences for the future. And those consequences will be that institutions will be stronger; norms will be cleaner and people will not have to steal millions of dollars from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“People have alleged in the past that there had been major corruption scandals there. If that stops, then that will have very high returns in terms of the money staying around to be spent on education, health, roads and power that the poor people across the country need.
“So, my sense is that it will be good to promote cleanliness in politics”.
Fielding questions on some other African countries that have elections between 2015 and 2017, the World Bank official said there was no need to be apprehensive, adding that the fear of elections would drive away investments from the region.
He said the example that had been shown by President Jonathan and Nigeria in the just-concluded general elections showed that the continent could get it right in terms of transition from one government to the other.
Ferreira commended Jonathan for his political maturity, adding that if Nigeria could get it right; other countries in the region should also be able to get it right.