You can’t share $322m Abacha loot, Reps tell Buhari
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The House of Representatives, Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber Wednesday, unanimously rejected plans by the Federal Government to share the $322 million last tranche of Abacha loot among poor Nigerians under the guise the guise that it was part of the conditions given by the Swiss Government for the release of the money.
The Reps at plenary presided over by the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, queried the powers of the Swiss Government to determine how Nigeria, a sovereign nation spends her money, and also insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari lacks the powers to unilaterally determine what happens to the money without recourse to the National Assembly.
The Reps, who also observed that the money belonged to the three tiers of government, insisted that it must be paid into the consolidated revenue account and shared among the three tiers of government, arguing that it was also unconstitutional for the presidency alone to determine how it would be disbursed without National Assembly’s approval.
Part of the highpoints of the plenary was the setting up of an adhoc committee to probe the recoveries of the Abacha loots and utilisation from 1998 till date.
The committee, which was given six weeks to conclude investigation and report to the House for further legislative actions, was asked to establish the sources of the Abacha within the said period, identity all agreements entered by government and see if they were in line with the constitution.
Part of the mandate of the adhoc committee is to establish if money were paid to lawyers in the course of recovery and establish if proper procedures were followed.
These resolutions were sequel to debate on a motion of urgent public importance brought before the House by Sunday Karimi (PDP Kogi), on the urgent need to stop the Federal Executive Council from expending the last tranche of the Abacha loot or any recovered loot at all without the approval of the National Assembly.
He cited section 12 (1) of the 1999 construction as amended, which provides that treaty between the Federal Government of Nigeria and other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which such treaty has been enacted by the National Assembly.
Recall that the Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagu had said penultimate week that the $322 million loot recovered from late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha will be paid directly to the accounts of the poorest Nigerians, which drew the ire of most Nigerians including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP, which accused the government of compiling fake names as part of ploy to divert the money for 2019 elections.