•Seeks to recover N57.2bn from lawmakers
•Says lack of funds hinder ex-Oil minister, Dieziani’s probe
From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari is working to recover N57.2 billion from five serving senators just as the President is facing intense pressure to turn off searchlight on chieftains of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) facing corruption cases, his biographer, Prof. John Paden has said.
The amount to be recovered from each senator was also listed in the book.
The book, Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria, written by Paden, equally revealed that the administration’s ongoing investigation of alleged dubious international oil transactions by former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and her foreign allies as well as tracking of stolen oil is being hampered by lack of funds.
The book was launched on Monday, October 3 and has drawn varied reactions from Nigerians over some positions and claims.
Detailing various efforts being made by the president in the fight against corruption,Paden said of the nine senators currently facing corruption cases, five are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related) Corruption (ICPC) for alleged misappropriation of N57.2 billion.
The senators, according to Buhari’s biographer are: Ahmed Sani Yerima who ruled Zamfara State between 1999 and 2007 (N1billion); former governor of Plateau state who recently defected to Buhari’s APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Joshua Dariye (N1.2 billion) and ex-governor of Gombe State and incumbent Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje (N25 billion).
Others senators are: former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu (N15 billion) and son of former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako), Senator Abdulaziz Nyako (N15 billion).
Although investigation of the senators was inherited by the administration, the president’s disposition in the war on corruption has placed more heat on the lawmakers, the author contended.
According to the book, president Buhari has been going through enormous pressure to give preferential treatment to APC leaders fingered in corruption cases but stated that such requests have not received his blessing.
Paden said: “Importantly, in none of these cases (apart from certain military procurement scandals that impacted national security) has the prosecution been sponsored or encouraged by president Buhari. He has kept his hands off the judiciary, despite enormous pressure for him to come to the aid of APC allies.”
He further added that, “although a number of senior officials had been tried for corruption prior to the Buhari Presidency, the extent of the current corruption court cases in Nigeria is unprecedented. By February 2016, nine senators (out of 109 in the National Assembly) were facing criminal charges.”
On the reason the administration is yet to make desired impact in recovering petro-monies involving Mrs. Madueke and her foreign allies, the book claimed that investigation into the deals were being hampered by lack of funds.
“A major challenge for the Buhari government was how to track stolen oil…At the heart of the oil bunkering scandals was the former minister of Petroleum Resources and her associates,” the book alleged .
It stated that “a general lack of funds appeared to hamper the Nigerian component of the investigation… In February, a letter by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption(PACC) to a United Kingdom -based anti corruption organisation, Global Witness, soliciting assistance in raising funds, revealed that due to the fall in crude oil prices and the general economic downturn, government lacked the needed funds to pursue the recovery of loot.”