Nigeria News: Ex-governors accused of huge fraud

Three former Nigerian governors are accused of stealing $647 million during their terms in office.  This picture shows Nigerian voters waiting to cast their ballots on April 26, 2011 at a station in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, prior to the start of the gubernatorial elections.</p>

Three former Nigerian governors are accused of stealing $647 million during their terms in office. This picture shows Nigerian voters waiting to cast their ballots on April 26, 2011 at a station in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, prior to the start of the gubernatorial elections.

In any country $647 million is a lot of money to steal, but in a country where most of the population scrapes by in abject poverty, it is venality in the extreme.

Yet this is the amount that three Nigerian state governors — elected officials — are accused of embezzling during their terms in office. In Nigeria’s federal system, state governors are immensely powerful and often control huge budgets.

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested the ex-governors of Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo states on Thursday.

The EFCC outlined the scale of the alleged fraud saying that Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State stole $167 million, Aliyu Akwe Doma of Nasarawa State stole $120 million and Olugbenga Daniel of Ogun State stole a staggering $387 million.

The three accused men are all members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party.

According to local newspapers, other governors are also in the EFCC’s sights.