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PDP: Govt must account for N800bn recovered loot

ADC: Tell Nigerians how much has been re-looted

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democrat i c Party (PDP), yesterday, challenged the Federal Government to account for the N800 billion it recovered from some corrupt Nigerians. The main opposition party expressed doubts at the claims as well as the whereabouts of the money and charged the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to show transparency by giving a detailed account of the said recovered loot. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had, on Tuesday, addressed a press conference in Abuja where he claimed that the recovered N800 billion was an indication that the anticorruption war of the current administration was on top gear.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who responded to the claims at a press conference, alleged that the recovered N800 billion loot has been re-looted and shared among top officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration and APC leaders.

Ologbondiyan alleged that the APC-led Federal Government has not shown commitment in the fight against corruption, but was merely grandstanding and using propaganda to deceive the people. He said that rather than resorting to false performance claims, the administration should have apologised to Nigerians for what he described as “the display of gross abuse of position”, especially as it relates to the fight against corruption. He observed that Mohammed avoided going into the details of the various corruption issues in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies. According to him, avoiding these issues of corruption was a deliberate attempt to cover them up.

“Our party holds that this is an evasion of gory tales of direct stealing, treasury looting and barefaced embezzlements by government officials and APC leaders as already exposed in on-going investigations at the National Assembly and at the presidential panel.

“With this shocking suppression of information related to corrupt practices, by no other person than the Minister of Information, Nigerians and the world at large are no longer in doubt that concealment of corruption in ministries, department and agencies is an official policy of the APC administration because their leaders are involved,” the PDP spokesperson stated. Ologbondiyan said that it was the same reason the APC government had suppressed the prosecution of officials indicted in the billions of naira allegedly stolen from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as well as the N33 billion reportedly looted from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the over N18 billion from the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-East.

“Of course, the APC has not denied that it is the headquarters of corruption and also had nothing to say to reports by reputable international organizations, including the Transparency International (TI) that corruption had worsened under this administration. “We also challenge the Minister of Information to inform Nigerians why this administration has failed to address the direct allegation by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, that the N500 billion meant for Social Investment Programme under this administration was diverted to private purses.

“We also challenge the minister to name those behind the looting in NEMA, NHIS, FIRS, North East Development Commission and the NDDC. “Moreover, in doing that, Lai Mohammed should also offer some explanations on his alleged role in the reported National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) N2.5 billion fraud, for which Nigerians had demanded his investigation by the ICPC. “Of course, Nigerians have not also forgotten how the nation was defrauded with a fictitious Nigeria Air which only flew on the internet under the watch of this administration,” Ologbondiyan said.

In the same vein, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) said that President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration must, as a matter of urgency, disclose the percentage of the recovered N800 billion loot that had been re-looted under his watch. The party described the amount of corruption taking place under the nose of Buhari and his party as “a scandalous raiding of collective wealth” of the people. National Publicity Secretary of ADC, Yemi Kolapo, warned the Information Minister and other key officials of the administration to refrain from making a mockery of the nation all in the name of settling intraparty political scores. It said the APC must stop trivialising salient issues capable of further denting an already battered image of the country.

The party said: “The ruling party cannot continue to trivialise the issue of corruption or politicise genuine criticisms, especially when over 80 per cent of events, in the last few weeks, had centred around revelations of multi-billion naira fraud in critical agencies What kind of country are we running where the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is accusing the main driver of the administration’s anti-corruption crusade of gross ethical misconduct and re-looting of looted funds, and the mouthpiece of the same administration wants Nigerians to give them a pat on the back?

“The other corruption scandal in the NDDC, which has led to unprecedented drama in the National Assembly, with allegations and counterallegations flying around Acting Managing Director, former Managing Director, Executive Director, Minister overseeing agency, as well as principal officers of the National Assembly, is a shame that must be tactically addressed.” The ADC dismissed the Information Minister’s claim that the Buhari government had recovered N800 billion loot, saying Nigerians were more interested in how much of this had been re-looted.

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