President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to ensure that recovered loot from the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, is not re-stolen.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, had last week stated that the Federal Government recovered over $700 million looted funds, stated the return of £4.2 million linked to James Ibori, and the plan to repatriate more than £80 million of Ibori’s loot.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asked Buhari to “urgently direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to disclose spending details of the $700 million looted funds reportedly recovered by the Federal Government in the past four years, including the list and location of projects completed with the money, as well as details of the contractors that executed the projects.”
This was contained in a Freedom of Information request of May 22, 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
SERAP also urged him to “direct Mrs Ahmed to disclose how the government plans to spend the returned £4.2m Ibori loot, including details of planned capital expenditure, and whether there is any plan to ensure that the money and any future returned Ibori loot would be spent to achieve justice and effective remedies for victims of corruption in Delta State.”
“Disclosing spending details of the recovered $700m loot, and spending plans for the £4.2m Ibori loot would promote transparency, accountability, and be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office to ensure the well-being of Nigerians.”
“Rather than borrowing another N2.3trillion ($6.18bn) external loan, SERAP urges you to ensure a transparent and accountable use of recovered loot to fund the 2021 budget, improve the country’s economy, and address widespread poverty. This would promote a just and honest government, and ensure that recovered loot is not re-stolen at the expense of the poor.”
“SERAP, therefore, urges you to withdraw your latest request seeking the approval of the National Assembly to borrow another $6.1billion in the public interests, and to ensure accountable fiscal stewardship of Nigeria’s money for both current and future generations.”
“Providing the information and widely publishing the details would also enhance your government’s authority and credibility to demand the return of more looted public funds from abroad, as well as facilitate the repatriation of potentially billions of dollars still stashed in rich countries.”