Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday cited the flow of illegal funds in Africa as a major cause of insecurity on the continent.

Buhari, who stated this while speaking at the 16th Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa holding in Abuja called on the intelligence services to trace and block such funds and arrest the sponsors of terrorists.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina quoted the President as putting the estimate of such illicit funding of crime and outflows from the African continent to around $ 60 billion every year. 

“Frankly, we may never know the true extent of the damage. Estimates however suggest that African countries lose over 60 billion US dollars annually due to illicit financial outflows, a staggering amount for a continent in dire need of development finance.

Corroborating this figure, a United Nations Report on ‘Illicit Financial Flows and the Problem of Net Resource Transfers from Africa: 1980 – 2009′ observed that during the period, 1980 to 2009, between $1.2 trillion and $1.4 trillion was taken out of Africa.

“This figure is half of the current Gross Domestic Product of all the countries of Africa,” the statement quoted Buhari as saying.