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How I was accused of allowing Boko Haram take over Nigerian territories – Okonjo-Iweala



Former Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recalled how the military accused her of being responsible for Boko Haram’s capture of territories in the North Easter part of Nigeria in 2014.Okonjo-Iweala said she was accused of refusal to disburse operational funds.

According the her, the accusation sent her and her team into panic mode.

In 2014 there were public complaints by the military hierarchy to President Goodluck Jonathan about the inadequacy of funds to fight the anti-terror war in the North East.

A lot of the criticism was directed at the Federal Ministry of Finance under Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala said this in Washington DC at a signing event for the launch of her book ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines’, held at The Politics and Prose.

She said, “I remember a time when the Army said, and it is in the book, that the Ministry of Finance was withholding resources and therefore they were not able to fight Boko Haram, and it was in the papers.

“People in my ministry panicked and said you have to do something because that is a really serious charge. And I had to go out to the media and give all the figures of all we had disbursed.

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“So, other people not just me suffered a lot. So, we have to be willing. If you don’t have willing people who are ready to fight, then you can’t even have the strengthening of the institutions. If you strengthen the judiciary and you don’t have strong incorruptible judges, what is going to happen?

“If you don’t have people who will put their neck on the line to say we shan’t discuss this or we can’t do that, or we can’t allow the sources from the budget to be used for certain things, what will happen?

“So I’m just encouraging people, especially from developing countries, to have the will to fight, and those in the international community to have the will to put up instruments and back those people.

“Let them know that if they need to run out, they have somewhere to go. So, if you want to start up something that is a project for you, start a fund to support these people. Let’s find institutions, anyone that will house the fellowships that will support these people.”

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