Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the government of Switzerland to put on hold the repatriation of $321 million Abacha loot till after 2019 election to stop it from being re-looted.
A statement signed by Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator of HURIWA, stressed that key cabinet members of President Buhari’s administration including Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation who announced the breakthrough about the imminent repatriation of the Abacha loot, are not committed to the vigorous campaign against corruption and crass violations of human rights by the government.
The Rights group said that it would try to convince the Swiss administration to put the cash in an escrow and interest yielding account on behalf of the oppressed people of Nigeria until after the 2019 presidential poll because the atmosphere in Nigeria does not permit for openness, transparency and accountability at these moments under Buhari.
According to him, “We believe that if these huge sums are repatriated now back into the hands of the political hawks and members of cabal in the presidency, the fund will surely disappear into private pockets and some fractions of the fund could be invested in seeking for a second term for president Muhammadu Buhari and could therefore jeopardize free, fair, peaceful, transparent and widely acceptable presidential polls in 2019.
HURIWA said there are existential and pragmatic evidences to believe that there is widespread official theft of public fund going by the ugly fact that the current administration claimed to have spent trillions of naira in the building of infrastructures but millions of Nigerians can attest to the reality that public infrastructures have for long collapsed and haven’t been revamped.
“These times are dicey. These times are dangerous particularly because of many reports of shady transactions amongst key federal cabinet officials of the President Buhari’s administration.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is in a midst of $26 Billion contracts award scandal. The Presidency is weighed down by serial cases of bribery and diversion of fund among which is the alleged diversion of over N300 million from the North East rehabilitation fund which led to the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal who is a personal friend of President Buhari. The Inspector General of Police is in the midst of monumental allegation of fraud made by a top serving senator.
“Even the President is alleged to have approved the $26 billion contracts in the NNPC whilst he was on medical vacation abroad and wasn’t constitutionally allowed to carry on with such transactions which even required oversight by procurement board of the Nigerian State and the amounts approved by far exceeded the statutory threshold one person.
“The Federal Attorney General, the Interior Minister and the Head of service including the Federal Civil Service Commission are all involved in the scandal of the illegal reinstatement of the fugitive Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina indicted in the alleged disappearance of N2 Billion public pension.
“Also, the Directorate of State Services has on two occasions written damaging dossiers on the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Alhaji Ibrahim Magu that due to alleged links to corrupt persons and alleged benefiting from corruption, he is unfit and improper to be made a substantive head of EFCC,” Onwubiko added.