Updated: February 24, 2021
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has challenged the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to explain how the $5bn (N1.8 trillion) recovered from the family of the former head of state, Sani Abacha, between 1999 and 2015, was spent.
This, it said, becomes necessary in the aftermath of revelations by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) that the government has no record of expenditure of the Abacha loot recovered in the PDP years.
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In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO argued that Nigerians deserve to have full details of how previous governments spent repatriated public funds.
“It is shocking that there is no record of how previous governments spent $5bn that was recovered from the Abacha family in a 16-year period.
“Most of the funds were repatriated to Nigeria at a time the PDP was in power at the centre, aside from the initial recoveries by a special panel set up by the former head of state General Abdulsalami Abubakar to probe the late military dictator.
“According to the non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that raised the issue, people needed to know the exact projects recovered Abacha loot was spent on.
“But several hours after the federal government had made it known that there was no record of how it was spent in the PDP years, the party has yet to defend itself.
“Here is a party that is quick to jump on even the most innocuous of issues but now that there is one that demands its attention, its media organ is unusually quiet.
“So we are demanding to know how the PDP administrations of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan spent the Abacha loot that was repatriated between 1999 and 2015.”
BMO also urged Nigerians to ask PDP and its leaders to account for the public fund.
“We had actually expected a national outrage in response to the statement issued by the office of the AGF.
“Even SERAP that raised the matter in the first place failed to grasp the implication of the government revelation and instead claimed the government refused to accede to its request.
“It is no longer news that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration received its first tranche of Abacha loot of $322m in January 2018 and committed it to its Social Investment Programme based on a World Bank arrangement which was well monitored.
“The second tranche of $308m from the island of Jersey, in collaboration with the United States of America, is to be deployed to three infrastructure projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Expressway and Second Niger Bridge, in a transparent manner.
“But no one, probably aside from PDP leaders, knows how the administrations before that of President Buhari spent Abacha loot returned to Nigeria.
“In the Obasanjo years alone, $2bn and £100m were repatriated to the country, according to the former President in one of his books,” it added.
BMO noted that Nigerians would be right to assume that PDP re-looted Abacha loot that was returned to the country between 1999 and 2015.