Nigeria’s House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to halt the disbursement of the £4.2m – about 2.2 billion Naira that was seized from a former Delta State Governor James Ibori.
According to the lawmakers, the process should be suspended until they conclude the investigation of the repatriation process.
The resolution of the House was sequel to a motion from Delta State representatives who insisted that the recovered funds should be given to the Delta state government while alleging that the actual amount is £6.2 million and not £4.2 million.
ARISE News had on Tuesday reported how the Delta State government faulted the decision of the federal government to spend the £4.2 million forfeited by Ibori’s associates on the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway under the coordination of the Nigeria Social Investment Authority (NSIA).
Again, reports that the Federal Government has no plan of releasing the money to the Delta State Government has also been rejected by the state government.
Nigeria’s Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on Tuesday at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the government of the UK said the funds would be used for infrastructural development in the country.
At Wednesday’s plenary the House collectively adopted the motion jointly moved by lawmakers from the oil-rich Delta state and called on the ministry of justice and the Attorney General of the Federation to provide the House with all particulars relating to the recovered money, while directing the House Committees on Finance, Justice, Loans, and Recovered Funds to “investigate this matter and revert to the House within two weeks.”
Moving the motion, Minority leader Ndudi Elumelu said, “The House notes that the sum of £4.2m, being proceeds of looted funds recovered from a former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, is being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and /or parliament in two weeks’ time.
“The House is aware that the said recovered looted funds belongs to the good people of Delta State and, as such, ought to be refunded to the coffers of the Delta State Government for developmental purposes. The House is aware that assets seized by EFCC from states were returned to such states, i.e. Bayelsa and Abia states, etc.
“The House is worried that if the Federal Government is allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the Delta State Government, the people of Delta State will be short-changed/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the state as well as provide the requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.”
“From all indications, information to Delta State indicate that the actual money is £6.2m and the Federal Government should ensure that the total of £6.2m is credited, not £4.2m as stated,” the minority leader said.
By Abel Ejikeme