By Henry Uche
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and the federal House Of Representatives has asked the federal government of Nigeria to hands off from the £4.2m recovered loot from the United kingdom (UK) being part of the many loots of former governor of Delta State, James Ibori. This amount acccording to report is coming in fortnight. He made this known yesterday at the 23rd Anti- corruption Situation Room (ACSR) organised by Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in Abuja.
Acccording to the Senior Advocate, any agreement or memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the UK and Nigeria government as condition for repatriating the money must be domesticated in Nigeria in line with the 1999 constitution.
The Human Rights Activist added that the law provides that such recovered loot must not be used by the federal government to prosecute any project as being widely reported that the money would be use to finance second Niger bridge and other projects.
He reminded the federal government of section 42 of the 1999 constitution as altered which speaks against discrimination, noting that since similar cases happened with the erswhile governors of Plateau and Bayalsa States and the recovered loots were delivered to the the State governments, it’s therefore right to deliver this £4.2m to the people of Delta State who are the only victims of such Corrupt act.
“The federal government cannot grandstand in this matter, the money belongs to the people of Delta who are the direct victims of such wicked act. Any agreement signed or entered into by federal government and another country must be domesticated in Nigeria by virtue of section 12 and section 162 of Nigeria constitution. Once that agreement has not been domesticated in Nigeria, such agreement has no force of law in Nigeria, and I’m saying, morally and legally, that the British government has right to dictate to Delta people how to use their own money, it’s the prerogative of the Delta State House of Assembly to appropriate the money accordingly.
He added that the AGF & Justice Minister, Malami Abubakar, or anyone has no right to tamper with the money or redirect it under any law national or International, he noted that article 35 of United Nations convention against Corruption ratified by both Nigeria and United kingdom, states that any Money recovered must be used to compensate the victims of such Corruption.
“This Same case happened to Plateau and Bayelsa states and their money was given to them, so the federal government has no right to spend this money, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander and should the federal government use the money, it must be challenged in the court.
He added that Nigeria has done well in terms of recovering and repatriating looted funds, “Nigeria through EFCC has recovered and repatriated $4.8bn to Nigeria but unfortunately the federal government cannot account for this money apart from what have been recovered by this administration,”
He afrirmed that every bank both national and international that harbors looted funds should be sanctioned by International court because they are aiding corrupt practises. “If banks and other financial institutions that receives keep looted funds are not sanctioned and penalized severely, then the provisions of the International conventions would not work,” he added.