“We ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”
• As EFCC allegedly traces $33.6m to 3 Nigerians’ accounts with bank
• You’re hypocrite, Atiku slams govt
Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
The Federal Government appears not to be taking lightly the alarm raised by the British multinational bank (HSBC), which predicted that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 could further worsen Nigeria’s present economic situation.
Barely 48 hours after the presidency issued a statement, accusing the bank of aiding the collapse of Nigeria’s economy in the past by conniving with past Nigeria’s leaders to loot the country’s resources blind, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, took a swipe at the bank, accusing it of engaging in money laundering.
But former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, came hard on the government for attacking the bank, just because it gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election for another term would spell doom for the country’s economy.
The EFCC in a statement it posted on its Instagram page noted that the international bank “is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.
“Since inception, HSBC is synonymous with money laundering and has paid billions of US Dollars in fines across the world. In Nigeria, the bank laundered more than $100 million for the late dictator, Gen Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London, Switzerland and Geneva. The bank is also involved with laundering proceeds of corruption for over 50 Nigerians including a Nigerian serving Senator.
“Part of Abacha Assets yet to be recovered are: $12 million in HSBC Fund Admin Ltd with account number S-104460 in Jersey; $20 million in HSBC Life (Europe) with account number 37060762 in U.K and $1. 6 million in HSBC Bank plc with account number 38175076 in U. K.”
The presidency had in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, last week alleged that one of the things that helped to destroy Nigeria’s economy in the past was the connivance of HSBC with some Nigerians to loot Nigeria’s money, adding that “rather, we ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”
Reacting to the government’s outburst, Atiku, whose position was conveyed by his Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, said he was amused when he read the statement that emanated from the presidency.
He added that, “It is at once comical and pathetic that the Buhari government’s statement called HSBC corrupt. It seems they are unaware that some of the record 12 trillion worth of debt which the Buhari administration has saddled Nigeria with is actually funded from HSBC, which is the world’s largest bank.
“When they were taking their money, the ever begging Buhari administration did not know that HSBC was corrupt. It was after the HSBC told the truth about the Buhari government that they knew that the HSBC is keeping looted funds.
“In their statement, the presidency called HSBC ‘a bank that soiled its hand with millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.’ They forgot that their principal, Muhammadu Buhari said ‘Abacha did not steal.’ So if Abacha did not steal, how could HSBC keep recovered Abacha loot? When you tell so many lies, you begin to contradict yourself,” Atiku said.
He reminded the All Progressives Congress-led administration that the British Prime minister, Theresa May and other international organisations have condemned Nigeria under Buhari’s leadership as one that is being regarded as the world’s centre for “extreme poverty.”
He also called on the government to put on its thinking cap so as to change the negative narrative about Nigeria.
“The fact remains that Nigeria under Buhari has been adjudged as the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Economic Forum and the World Poverty Clock as well as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Are these people also corrupt?
“Only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that our second quarter GDP growth rate was lower than our first quarter GDP growth. Another quarter of negative growth and Nigeria will enter a second recession under the Buhari administration. The same NBS published in December 2017 that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 21 months under Buhari’s watch.
“These are the things that the government should be focused on and not to haul infantile insults at the world’s largest bank,” Atiku added.