Various newspaper headlines this morning alluded to the World Bank Chief economist backing President-elect, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over allegations of missing funds. Even some morning radio programs touched on the issue as well suggesting a sort of endorsement of the alleged probe set to commence after May 29. But is that what the world bank chief economist actually said? Here is how he was quoted
“One norm that has to change is the norm of impunity. I am from Brazil myself. So I am also used to a country where people could be corrupt and escape justice. That keeps the people to keep doing it.
“So, the current stand of the government-elect to look into what happened in the past hopefully will have consequences for the future. And those consequences will be that institutions will be stronger; norms will be cleaner and people will not have to steal millions of dollars from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“People have alleged in the past that there had been major corruption scandals there. If that stops, then that will have very high returns in terms of the money staying around to be spent on education, health, roads and power that the poor people across the country need.
“So, my sense is that it will be good to promote cleanliness in politics.” World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, Mr. Francisco Ferreira
It is quite easy to be quoted out of context sometimes but reading this quote attributed to him, one has to agree with most headlines that he indeed is in support of a probe of the NNPC and indeed other government institutions accused of corruption in the past. Now, whether this was the position of the world bank and not Ferreira’s is what we cannot say for sure.