Reps’ panel to meet Obasanjo, Jonathan, Buhari on Abacha loot

Members of the House of Representatives during the plenary on Tuesday, February 6, 2018. PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPS NGR

• Sani warns President against sharing funds to poorest homes
• Says it may be deployed by APC for 2019 elections

An eleven-member ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives is billed to meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ascertain the actual monies so far recovered from various foreign accounts traceable to the former military ruler, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.The panel, to be led by Mr. Abdulmumini Jibrin, will also meet with the former President Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari on the fact-finding mission.

Spokesperson of the House, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, who spoke with The Guardian, said the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the Justice Ministry and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had been asked to appear before the committee this week.The probe is to determine how the recovered monies were utilised, establish the agreement signed by the Federal Government on the issue and ascertain whether such agreement was in line with due process.

The House, had while adopting the motion sponsored by Mr. Karimi Sunday (Kogi, PDP) penultimate week, called for the stoppage of the executive arm from expending the last tranche of the Abacha loot amounting to $322 million without the approval of the National Assembly.The House further enjoined the Executive arm to come up with a Supplementary Appropriation Bill earmarking the funds due to it from the Abacha loot for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

It also called on the Executive arm to present to the National Assembly details of the monies released from the recovered loot and how they were expended over the years.Karimi, while leading debate on the issue, faulted a recent treaty said to have been signed by the justice minister and officials of the Switzerland government for the release of the $322 million for onward payment to indigent Nigerians.

He said such deal could not stand since Section 12 (1) of the Constitution as amended stipulates that any treaty between Nigeria and any other country must be endorsed by the National Assembly. Meanwhile, human rights activist and senator representing Kaduna Central Zone, Shehu Sani, has warned Buhari against the decision to share the recovered Abacha loot to poor Nigerians.He expressed the fears that the money might be channelled towards prosecuting the 2019 general elections by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Sani, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian, said it was wrong for the government to contemplate disbursing the repatriated funds to Nigerians during election year.Besides, he said the President and the ruling APC had been losing the support of Nigerians due to poor handling of governance, the crisis in the APC and the increasing wave of killings across the nation that could not be salvaged.

According to him, for the President and the APC leaders to suggest that the recovered funds be distributed to poor Nigerians is not only against the law, but an attempt to channel the money for political means.He said: “When you are sharing money in election year, what are you doing? You are simply sharing money for elections. We don’t want Abacha loot or any other loot to go like that.”

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