Lost & Found



There is a new vocation in town and it is very lucrative. This mildly-risky venture simply involves keeping one’s ears open and eyes close to the ground to glean vital information and sniff out where huge chunks of looted cash are stashed all over Nigeria. Since the Federal Government unveiled the whistle-blowing policy to fight against corruption, mind-boggling cash in local and foreign currencies, which were cleverly hidden by corrupt highly-placed public officials, have been fished out and confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

From shopping complexes to luxury apartments, from cemeteries to septic tanks, in posh and slum areas, there is a deluge of cash which were previously ‘lost’ from the commonwealth tills. Among other examples, $9.8m was found in a safe in an air-conditioned room in a slum area of Kaduna, while another $43m was found in a posh apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos. There is no recognisable pattern to the discoveries except the cash is getting too hot to keep in the banks because of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) exercise and the newfound love for whistleblowing among bank insiders at middle and lower level cadres.

The recovered loot is a big carrot for whistle-blowers and the federal government’s intention to pay N2.1 billion to different intrepid ‘kelebes’ is enough incentives for many citizens to turn on their wealthy but miserly relatives who have helped themselves to the public funds over the years. The good thing is that at least the loot is being found here and not in numbered accounts abroad. All lost and found pay should be forfeited to the FG while the whistle-blowers should be paid their compensation quietly in anonymity. This vocation is surely worth the risk…. not so?

– Abimbola Akosile