Says bad precedence being set by UK, Nigerian Govts

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As Nigerians continue to get worried with the way and manner the fight against corruption has assumed, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, yesterday, decried alleged poor handling of recovered ‘Ibori loot’.

Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, the Executive Director, ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor, asserted that the manner of handling the recovered Ibori loot was not in best interest of Nigerians, particularly people of Delta State who own the money and supposed to receive the loot.

Ugolor said the UK and Nigerian Governments are to be blamed for their action.

He said: “We blame the Government of the United Kingdom, UK, for not returning the money to the people of Delta State who are the victims of corruption because it is setting a bad precedence in the Asset Restitution globally.”

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On the implications of failing to return the money to Delta State, he said will bring about setback to the anti-corruption war.

“The UK and Nigerian Governments are setting a bad precedence and a setback for the anti-corruption campaign” he pointed.

However, the ANEEJ boss called on the UK and Nigerian Governments to strictly adhere to the Global Forum on Asset Recovery, GFAR, principle.

“We are challenging the Nigerian and UK Governments that they should not conduct Asset Restitution in a manner that is not complying with the Global Forum on Asset Recovery, GFAR, principle.

“That Forum was organised in Washington in December 2017, when Nigeria and other countries were invited to Washington, and that has been a basic principle that would guide any aspect of restitution.

“One of those principles talked about restitution of monies for the benefit of the victim, and what the Nigerian and UK Governments have done about the ‘Ibori Money’ falls short of that benchmark and standard”, he stated.

Whether it is late to return the money to Deltans, he said, “Well, it is a campaign we are embarking upon but is like money spent you want it to be returned back.

“There are other ‘Ibori Money’ that has been returned, but future return is what we are now focusing on.”

Meanwhile, according to him (Ugolor) alleged why the people in Delta State were denied of the recovered money, said was a result of some political undertones.

“Delta State is a minority State, the Government there is a PDP government, and all these are factors that played out”, he pointed.

However, he also accused the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, of not being proactive.

“And unfortunately, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was also not very helpful and proactive for reasons best known to him”, he said.  

It will be recalled on May 27, 2021, about one year ago, the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had said that the £4.2 million loot recovered from the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, has not been returned to Delta State.

Also in a statement from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF, read in part, “The issue of the £4.2m Ibori Loot has not been properly resolved.”

The OAGF’s director of Information, Press and Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike, in the statement, said the money “is still being awaited, after which the issues around it will be resolved before further action is taken.

“For now, no money has been returned to Delta State,” Ogubike said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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