Abuja — Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, yesterday revealed that Nigeria lost between $400 billion and $436 billion to corruption within its first 40 years as a nation.
Bankole gave this at the national youth summit held yesterday at the International Conference Centre, with the title: "Towards Effective Mobilisation of Nigerian Youth for 2011 General Elections" facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development. He called on Nigerian youths to rise and take power from the older generations.
Challenging the youth who have given their supports to President Goodluck Jonathan at the event to take advantage of their populations to effect change in the 2011 election, Bankole said, "Anthony Mattercoster, the executive director of African Conference Against Drug, Money Laundering and Crime, in 2007, in seminar on economic crimes, estimated that close to $400 billion was stolen from this country between 1960 and 1999, while, the global financial report of 2008, according to Raymond W.A. Walker, said it was about $436 billion. Now we did not cause this problem but we are suffering for it."
Bankole was unhappy that Nigerian youths did not recognize their potential to effect the desired changes, and said, "They say youth are the future leaders; and you expect them to give you power? I want to tell you, nobody gives power; power is taken, therefore, you should rise and take power."
"They say we are the sixth largest crude oil producers in the world, they say we are 150 million and have over 400 ethnic groups, and 250 languages, and 70 per cent of those people are youth; therefore youth are over 100 million; that is your power, don't let anybody cheat you out of it. You are the people they called the failed generation; whether you like it or not, your are the people that they are so trampled upon, frustrated, and what are you going to do about it?"
The speaker asked the audience not to consider him an average Nigerian youth, saying, "I am exceedingly fortunate human being that does not represent the average youth of this country, so don't confuse us. 50 years ago the Chinese came to this country to learn about the textile industry. China's textile industries have grown while ours is now zero.
It is true that we export what we don't have and import what we have in abundant. We export power to Niger Republic, yet we don't have it. Before the advent of democracy, we went as far as exporting democracy even while we had a dictator at home."
He, therefore, charged the youths to always think of ways to move the country forward.