The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has called on the Federal Government to be open and accountable to Nigerians on the recovered Abacha loot.
Recall that the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, had said the looted fund repatriated to Nigeria by the United States had hit over $334.7m.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, urged the government to be transparent with previously and currently received funds.
According to him, Nigerians reserve the constitutional right to be duly informed on expenditures of the government.
He said, “In respect to the Abacha loot, there is need for adequate accountability. Every administration has not been forthcoming in being transparent and accountable about how those funds recovered were spent.
“Government should not only recover funds but should clearly tell Nigerians how the recovered funds have been used. And that is not enough, those funds should be monitored to be sure that they are used for their purpose for to ensure they do not end up in private pockets.
“But what we have seen with this administration, in line with the posture and the stand of government on accountability has not really been encouraging.
“For an administration that wants to fight fake news, don’t you think the other side of fake news is the real news? So, if government really wants to fight fake news, they should provide information particularly on something that affects the citizens on economic circumstances.”
The SERAP deputy director added that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had not shown commitment towards the against corruption.
“The antecedent which is the reality on the ground suggests that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not really committed to fighting corruption and there are many indices to show this.
“The very important part is the aspect of transparency and accountability. How transparent is government under this administration? How do they respond to freedom of information requests by citizens and now proactive is the government with this information?
“Government should obey the constitutional provision that mandates it to proactively disclose information and to ensure that the people are part of the government.”
In the same vein, the Secretary General, Afenifere, Sola Ebiseni, expressed concern over the management of the recovered Abacha loot.
He said, “On the Abacha loot, what you need to ask yourself fundamentally is, how much was spent to recover what amount? Secondly, if Abacha looted the purse of the federation as different from the Federal Government, why should the recovery be to the advantage of the Federal Government alone in a federation?
“Nigerians are only counting the remaining days of this government, holding their breaths that this cup of monumental misery passes us over. We want to live and that is absolutely in the hands of God, not in any way within the capacity of this state which its sovereignty is already abysmally challenged.
“There’s honestly nothing worthwhile to urge on this government. It has failed in all areas of its promise to the Nigerian people. Is it in the area of security, economy or anti-corruption sanctimonious declarations?
“This government has nothing to cheer about. So, it is sheer waste of time to continue to imagine that anything can come out of it,” Ebiseni added.