Nigeria's information minister is alleging that former governors, Cabinet ministers, government workers and others stole some $9 billion from the oil-rich nation's treasury.

Lai Mohammed made the allegations at a news conference Monday to kick off a "national sensitization campaign" against corruption. He appealed to Nigerians to join in the fight against endemic graft that is crippling what should be a rich nation that has Africa's biggest economy, population and oil production.

He said the looted 1.35 trillion Nigerian naira allegedly stolen by just 55 people could have built 36 hospitals or educated 4,000 children to university level. He said it was stolen between 2006 and 2013, when the naira stood at about 150 to the dollar, half today's value.