President Muhammadu Buhari has been petitioned to publicly disclose all the monies that have been recovered so far in the anti-graft war, by human rights activist Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
According to reports, Ozekhome wondered why the federal government was yet to give details to Nigerians about the whereabouts of the recovered loot, noting that the monies ought to be used to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians. He demanded that the government provide answers to all the questions being asked by Nigerians in the last couple of months concerning the recovered funds.
His concerns and demands were detailed in a letter which he addressed to acting president Yemi Osinbajo, titled: “My Humble Request for an Account of All Monies Recovered and Properties Attached by the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NIA, Police and Other Security Agencies.”
The petition reads: “I write this letter to you sir, as a Nigerian citizen, a patriot, and an advocate of the Rule of Law, accountability, transparency, human rights, entrenched democracy and good governance. “I am genuinely concerned that the President’s immediate aides and people who always have direct access to him before your Acting appointment in accordance with Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, have only been showing Mr. President the smaller, rather than, the larger picture of Nigeria’s gargantuan and multi-faceted problems; and the back-breaking suffering and misery Nigerians are currently living under.
“There is wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land. Nigerians hear of humongous recoveries of billions of naira, millions of dollars, pounds and other foreign currencies on a daily basis. Some of these monies, mercifully, are even orphaned. But, the use or non-use of these recovered “loots” has been shrouded in utter mystery, opaqueness and under eerie masquerades and ghosts of utmost secrecy. “The stashed monies have not impacted on the dreary, searing and agonizing lives of the common men and women of this great country (exacerbated in the last two years of your government). Their only pre-occupation with life, is not luxury, but merely to have three square meals a day, train their children and have a roof over their aching heads.”
The questions which Ozekhome demanded answers to include: “How much monies have so far been recovered by the various Security Agencies, in naira, pounds, dollars, euros, yen, and other foreign currencies? “Where are these monies kept?
“Are the monies kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Commercial Banks, MDAs, ware houses, abandoned houses, shopping complexes, canals, cemeteries, airports, septic tanks, toilets, private accounts, official pockets, lust where sir? “Is the TSA still operative, and if so sir, does it operate with relation to these “recovered loots” or are these monies specially exempted from the operation of TSA?, among others.
“Details of the recoveries, published by the Federal Ministry of information, showed that the Nigerian government successfully retrieved total cash amount N78,325,354,631,82, $185,119,584.61, £3,548,355A6 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016. -Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, which were a combination of cash and assets, during the same period: N126, 563,481,095.43, $9,090, 243, 92015, £2,484,447,55 and €303,399.17." He urged the government to swing into action and provide answers in the spirit of transparency and openness.
Thus, he prayed, “That you cause the Chairmen and Heads of all the Security Agencies, to immediately render full account of all recoveries so far made, cash and realty, and to publicly disclose and publish same to the Nigerian people; that the said publication shall be made in all national dailies, the electronic and social media; that in making this publication, lines of communication shall be left by each anti-graft agency to answer questions and queries from interested citizens and other members of the public; and that a period of three weeks certain from the date of this humble letter shall be sufficient to enable these humble prayers be looked into and granted."
In the event that the federal government failed to act accordingly in the next three weeks, the senior advocate stated that he would commence legal proceedings against all the relevant parties.
In his words: “If after the expiration of the three week period mentioned…no positive action has been taken on these my genuine concerns and complaints, I shall, most respectfully, without any further correspondence from me, institute legal proceedings against Mr. President, the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and all the Anti-graft and Security Agencies, for a redress of the above issues.”