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“We are surprised as the rest of Nigerians, how such a colossal amount of money that represents more than about 40 percent of Nigeria’s national budget is missing under President Buhari, the hero of the anti-corruption fight in Africa?”

The recent revelation by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, on Wednesday, when he submitted the 2019 Audit report to the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) Ojo Amos was shocking to many Nigerians. The report, which focused on the 2019 Federal Government Consolidated Financial Statement, stated that a whopping unsubstantiated balance up to the tune of N4.973 trillion. “The N4.973 trillion unsubstantiated balances are above the materiality level of N89.34 billion set for the Audit. In auditing, materiality means not just a quantified amount, but the effect that amount will have in various contexts”.

Furthermore, the report stated that “During the auditing planning process, the auditor decides what the level of materiality will be, taking into account the entirety of the financial statements to be audited.” For an administration that boasts of fighting corruption, this is a tar mark; however, from the pattern of its responses to issues like this, the present government has no shame anymore each time it faces accusations of aiding and abetting corruption or shielding powerful individuals in the corridors of power and party loyalists from facing the law for suspected corruption allegations.

We are surprised as the rest of Nigerians, how such a colossal amount of money that represents more than about 40 percent of Nigeria’s national budget is missing under President Buhari, the hero of the anti-corruption fight in Africa? Nigeria’s legislature is notoriously enmeshed in corruption allegations. As one of the third arms of government, NASS is expected to use its oversight power to fight corruption, but the reverse is the case. Too many times, oversight functions of the legislators are a very lucrative avenue for them to collect bribes and romanticize agencies with questionable financial records in exchange for gratifications.

How many times has NASS carried out investigations into power, health, education, etc, without any meaningful conclusion? How many times have lawmakers been accused of demanding bribes for cover-up of financial malfeasance of MDAs? It is a fact that, if the Nigerian lawmakers really want to work, the AuditorGeneral of the Federation has provided them with a huge document with which to dig deeper into the reported alleged misappropriation and unravel where there are rots.

But it will not; instead, the AGF has brought a ‘big business’ to harass MDAs into ‘line’. Time is running out fast for the APC-led government, with serious credibility issues. The APC-dominated NASS should make a positive mark out of this report by following it up with a view to ensuring that all monies in the report are fully accounted for and any case of corruption be dealt with accordingly.

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