…want it in consolidated revenue account
…to probe recovery since 1998 to date
Following the Federal Government’ announcement that the Abacha loot will be shared amongst poor Nigerians, the House of Representatives yesterday, called on the Federal Government to pay in the recovered monies into the Consolidated Revenue Account and be distributed to the Federating Units in line with the current revenue sharing formula.
The House also resolved plans to probe the Abacha loot, from 1998 till date.
The call is consequent upon a motion of urgent national importance on the need to stop the Executive from expending the last tranche of the the Abacha loot or any recovered loot at all without parliamentary approval, sponsored by Hon. Karimi Sunday.
In his lead debate, Hon. Sunday noted that the idea of sharing to the money to the poor was uncalled for with lack of database and effective modalities for the proposed sharing.
He argued that move by Buhari to share the recovered loot was in breach of section 12(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which provides that the treaties and agreements reaches by Federal Government must be ratified by the National Assembly.
“Aware that recently, the Attorney general of the Federation, signed an agreement on behalf of the Federal Government on the release of the last tranche of$322 million belonging to the Federal Government. The special adviser to the President on Justice reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, was report to have said that in line with the memorandum of understanding signed by the Swiss Government and the Nigeria Government, the$322 million will be paid directly to the Accounts of the poorest Nigerians without recourse to the National Assembly;
“Further aware that by virtue of Section 12 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, No treaty between the Federal Government of Nigeria and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which such treaty has been enacted by the National Assembly. Consequently, no agreement or memorandum of understanding purportedly signed by the Federal Government with the Swiss government can have any force of law in Nigeria except approved and enacted by the National you”.
The lawmaker further noted that Sections 80 (1-3) and 81 provides that all revenue raised and received by the Federal Government shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, adding that “Section 80(3) stipulates that no such monies raised shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund unless the issue of such funds has been authorized by the National Assembly. As a result, no monies can be paid or expended without National Assembly approval.
Contributing to the motion, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jibrin who re-echoed Sunday’s position, called for an investigation into the loot to determine how much has so far been recovered and utilized so far.
“Monies like the one in question should be paid into the Consolidated account of the government be cause when it comes, it belongs to the entire country and should be used to the benefit of all Nigerians.
“Nobody is questioning the intention of the Federal Government for wanting to share it amongst the poor, but I don’t see anything wrong with consulting the national assembly”.
According to the former chairman, Appropriation committee,$1.5 billion was recovered from the loot during the 7th Assembly.
He however added that how the money was spent remains unknown. “I know that in the 7th Assembly,$1.5 billion was recovered as part of the Abacha recovery but the National Assembly did not know how it was spent.
“We should conduct an investigation to establish how much of the money has been recoverd; let us know the source of the money, how much was utilized and how much was paid to lawyers; the most important aspect of this is for Nigerians to know how much has been recovered from this family”, Jibrin submitted.
Similarly, Hon Amuda Kannaike called for an investigation into the recovery to enable the House establish whether or not the right procedures we’re followed, identify all agreements entered into and if they were in line with the Constitution of the Federal republic.
On his part, Hon Gaza Jonathan noted the need for the Executive to utilize the money in such a way that it can have impact positively on for a long time.
Jonathan suggested the money be pumped into the moribound Ajaokuta Steel company which according to him, has the capacity to employ ten thousand graduates.
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, you teach him how to feed himself for ever. The Ajaokuta Steel company has the capacity to employ ten thousand graduates and this company can also manufacture the steel that can be used to complete the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge as well as other projects in the country.
“If you breakdown this money, how much will be shared to these families and how much will be shared by an average household. Instead of sharing, I will suggest they use this money for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel company.
It would be recalled that the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, had during a roundtable on assets recovery organized by the Swizz Embassy in Abuja, noted that total sum of $722million of the Abacha family money hidden in Switzerland has been fully repatriated in 2005.
Mayoraz was quoted as saying that additional sum of$322 million which was frozen by the Swizz Attorney-General, was repatriated in December, 2017.
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