The federal government has made a u-turn on the claim that it has returned the £4.2 million recovered from former Gov. James Ibori to Delta State.
Recall that the Buhari-led administration had said that the £4.2m looted by former Governor, James Ibori recently recovered from the United Kingdom has been returned to Delta State.
Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, made the claim when he was grilled by the Reps committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020.
The claim was contrary to the position of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who had earlier stated that the state would not benefit from the recovered loot.
Malami had explained that Delta state was not captured in the agreements signed with the British Government, which was a precondition for the release of the money.
According to him, the recovered loot will be used to execute other projects
However the federal government in a u-turn statement issued by the Special Assistant to President Muhammdu Buhari on social media, Lauretta Onochie on Wednesday explained that Delta State did not receive the looted funds because Nigeria may lose the opportunity to receive more looted funds, if it breaks the agreement it signed with the British government.
She said, ”We know what we heard but we also know the facts. Let me remind us. Before we start “admonishing, praising and decamping”, let’s pause for a minute and breathe in and out!
Was the recovered Ibori loot returned to the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa-led Delta state government? No.
”Now, let me remind us. The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Mallami, the British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing and other relevant agencies held a press conference openly telling the world when the money would be returned, and the specific projects the money was approved for. Openly.
”When it was delayed, the Attorney General informed Nigerians of the reason for the delay. When the loot arrived, Nigerians were informed too. The conditions under which the funds were repatriated, still stand. Again, no penny was paid to the Delta State government.
If we break the conditions for getting this chicken amount, how do we get the elephant amount that is still coming?
”The British High Commissioner is also keeping an open eye on those projects.
”I know what we all heard. But we also know the facts. Pres. Muhammadu Buhari runs an open government. The Attorney General is part of the open policy. Nothing hidden.
”Nigerians would be the first to know if he decides to break an agreement made with Britain. I very much doubt it. He’s an Honourable man.God bless Nigeria.”