The Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has opposed the planned expenditure of the recovered £4.2 million traced to former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, by the federal government of Nigeria.
Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had disclosed that the recovered money is being expected from the United Kingdom, noting that plans were already on how to apply the same on some critical infrastructure across Nigeria.
However, the caucus in a motion presented by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, which the House adopted during Wednesday’s plenary called on the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Finance to stop forthwith further appropriation/and or disbursement of recovered loot, requesting the Federal Ministry of Finance to and Attorney General of Federation furnish the House with all particulars relating to the recovered money.
Elumelu who led some other members of the caucus to brief journalists after the motion was adopted, also urged the federal government to cross check all documents and processes that led to the recovery, as available information suggested that the total loot recovered was about £6.2 million, and not £4.2 million. “We want the federal government to ask more questions. It is possible that there may be associated costs, which may be the reason for the lesser amount”, he stressed.
He said the recovered money belonged to Delta State, and cannot be used to develop infrastructure in other states, as he faulted the position of the AGF. “We are vehemently opposed to it. Our position on this matter is to show we are responsible for opposition. The only thing that is credible is to return the money to the Delta State government”, he said.
He argued further that there were processes expected to be followed by the federal government, before such money can be expended. “The first thing is even to comply with the constitution totally, by sending the matter to the National Assembly for appropriation. It is possible that part of the money may have been allocated to Delta State, from the federation, so when you receive it, the best question to ask is, where is it coming from”, he noted.
The lawmaker however declined comment on whether the caucus will approach the court, explaining that “we will not want to jump the decision of the House. We know the players in the executive are law abiding people. There are many scenarios that may play out, but let us wait…,” he stated.
Also lending his voice, another member of the caucus, Dachong Bagos stated that “In fairness, no mention is made of a project in the South South or delta state. The projects intended should be domiciled in Delta state, or the south south”.
The House’s joint Committee on Finance, Justice and Loans and Recovered Funds has been mandated to investigate the matter and report back within two weeks.