Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, had in an article alleged that “over N30 trillion is missing or stolen or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged” under the watch of the coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Ribadu, in an interview with the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja said: “I was baffled and got deluded for anyone to say that N30 trillion got lost. I think we just have to look at what we earn as a country and what our budget had been in these few years, and see how possible it is and if everything we earned is not up to that within the period she has been the minister, which is about three to four years, (how can that be?)
“And for somebody to say that N30 trillion is missing is baffling, especially if you know what our budget is these years. We need to be careful to avoid more damage to our nation because there are certain things that when it comes out, it will never go back again,’’ he said
Ribadu maintained that while working under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Okonjo-Iweala was the leader of the Economic Management Team and coordinated the economic policy of the administration effectively.
“I challenge anybody to say that she stole N1 at that time; we were all there. I was in charge of EFCC and I want to hear anybody say that she did this and that.
“And I followed her up till now; I think it is somehow uncharitable for someone to come out to say that such an amount of money was missing under her watch,’’ he said .
Mallam Ribadu, said it was unfortunate for such controversies but noted that Okonjo-Iweala was one of the most respected Nigerians with unimpeachable integrity.
He added that when he worked with her, she exhibited a nationalistic attitude that was not questionable and believed in any policy that could take Nigeria and its people forward.
It would be recalled that the former Governor of CBN blasted Jonathan’s administration for being irresponsible with the Nigerian economy, and later asked Buhari’s team to present their plan for Nigeria’s economy.