Nigeria is estimated to have lost about N5.5trillion to fraud and cybercrimes in the last 10 years.
This figure was given by the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria’s (CIFIPN’s) protem President, Dr Victoria Enape, during the opening ceremony of a training/ induction programme for the institute’s new members yesterday in Abuja.
Noting that corruption continues to thrive in Nigeria at alarming rate and raising concerns that the nation’s economy might be grounded by it, the forensic audit expert pointed out that this ugly phenomenon can be reversed if priority is given to forensic investigations in the public finance space.
She said: “As a country, we have countless times been resonated with the perplexing news of corruption; this has remained a bane in the wheel of our collective progress both as a nation and as individuals.
“The worse of it all is that financial institutions are losing money to cybercrimes everyday and it keeps increasing”, Enape said.
Describing the sudden collapse of some corporate organisations due to fraud as worrisome, the CIFIPN’s President also lamented that “government is losing a lot of money every day to fraud, corruption and cybercrimes, and that has emptied our treasury which has led to lack of infrastructural development.”
On the need to engage professionals in the country for forensic investigations, Enape also faulted the current practice that encourages MDAs and multinational companies to spend huge sums in hiring expatriate forensic investigators when Nigerian experts can do such jobs and conserve foreign exchange for the country.
“Government agencies and multinational corporations spend huge sums out of our scare foreign exchange to retain expatriates forensic and investigative professionals to unravel complex cases of fraud and cybercrimes in Nigeria including the federal government”, she said.
Enape said forensic investigations remained the last hope of Nigerians if only the government could “ignore the sentiment and self-interest seeking group of persons who would want Nigeria to continue to live in the past just because they have some skeleton in their cupboards.”
She, therefore, appealed to President Muhammad Buhari to assent to Forensic Bill which has been passed by the National Assembly with a view to enabling Nigerian experts use their expertise in bringing financial fraud and cybercrimes to the barest minimum in the country.