Nigeria looks to charge 6 ex-governors
( AP ) - Nigeria's top corruption investigator said Tuesday that up to six former governors will be charged by the end of the year, a sign the country's new leadership is making good on pledges to stamp out graft in one of the world's most corrupt nations.
Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, refused to identify the men, saying he is afraid "they will run." But he said up to six will face charges in the next two months. He did not say what the charges would be.
"Definitely more governors will be charged," Ribadu told The Associated Press in an interview at his office in the Nigerian capital. "Governors are so afraid, wherever they go now."
Ribadu's agency was set up in 2004 as part of an anti-corruption drive by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Since President Umaru Yar'Adua took power in May, it has begun prosecuting five former governors and has won the conviction of one who had been previously charged.
Yar'Adua has made battling graft a top priority.
The governors of Nigeria's 36 states lose their immunity from prosecution when their terms end. Many have been suspected of raiding public coffers and hiding their ill-gotten gains outside the country while their constituents remain impoverished.
Under Nigeria's federal system, states receive much of the government's funds and are tasked with providing schools, health clinics and other basic services to their people. State budgets can reach beyond $1 billion per year, particularly in the southern oil region, where budgets are even higher and graft particularly rife.
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter and the fifth-largest supplier of crude to the United States. But despite producing tens of billions of dollars of crude every year, few Nigerians have access to clean water or electricity.