For the umpteenth time, former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday said any attempt to link her to the misuse of the $322 million (about N63 billion) Abacha loot other than security purpose, was a futile exercise.
Yesterday, we reported here, citing PREMIUM TIMES investigations that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and former President Goodluck Jonathan illegally diverted the aforementioned funds to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) to prosecute the fight against Boko Haram.
The report stated that the fund was approved and released without appropriation, in clear violation of the country’s Fiscal Responsibility Act.
This latest information confirmed several claims by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State that the former minister abdicated her responsibility by allowing the administration under which she served to spend money not appropriated by the National Assembly.
But in her defence, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the money she approved from the Abacha loot to the former NSA, weeks before the 2015 presidential election was a loan.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala also described allegations of illegal diversion of the Abacha loot as “part of a campaign of falsehood” to “tarnish her image”.
Speaking through her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, in a statement last night, the former minister said: “Some new Abacha funds of about $322 million were returned with another $700m still expected to be returned. Former President (Goodluck) Jonathan set up a Committee comprising the former Minister of Justice, former NSA and the former Minister of Finance to determine how best to use both the returned and expected funds for development”.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said at the meeting, “the NSA made a case for using the returned funds for urgent security operations since, he noted, there cannot be any development without peace and security. Based on this, a decision was taken to deploy about $322m for the military operations, while the expected $700m would be applied for development programmes as originally conceived”.
She stated that based on the urgency of the NSA’s memo, she requested the former president “to approve the transfer of the requested amount to the NSA’s Office for the specified purposes”.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, referring to the meeting’s memo, said she “insisted on three conditions: a. only a part, not the entire Abacha funds, would be spent on the arms; the rest would be invested in developmental projects as originally conceived b. the money was to be treated as borrowed funds which would be paid back as soon as possible and c. the NSA’s office was to account for the spending to the President who was the Commander-in-Chief, given the fact that the Minister of Finance is not part of the security architecture and does not participate in the Security Council.
“Throughout 2014, there were public complaints by the military hierarchy to President Goodluck Jonathan about the inadequacy of funds to fight the anti-terror war in the North East, resulting in Boko Haram making gains and even taking territories. A lot of the criticism was directed at the Federal Ministry of Finance under Dr Okonjo-Iweala which was accused of not doing enough to find funds for the operations”.
Mr. Nwabuikwu insisted that “the attempt to link the former Minister’s name to any misuse of these funds for any purpose other than security as far as she understood it is totally false and cannot stand”.
#EndSARS: Gov Bello Warns Protesters Against Overthrowing Buhari
He stated this during an interview with Africa Independent Television AIT on Monday night.
Bello called on his fellow state governors to tack charge in their respective states so as to prevent loss of lives and properties due to attacks by hoodlums.
He, however, warned Nigerian youths to resist the temptation of using the current situation in the country to seek an undemocratic change in leadership.
The Governor warned that those interested in the presidency must wait till 2023 and go through democratic processes.
He urged the protesting youths to leave the streets and embrace dialogue.
#EndSARS: Protesters Rain Curses On Me: Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has revealed that he has been receiving curses from Nigerians through phone calls and text messages over a false report that he advised his principal to shun protesters.
Adesina stated in an article he wrote titled: “An Enemy of the People’ published on Thursday evening.
￼Adesina denied that he advised President Buhari for whatever reasons on the End SARS protesters, but said an online platform falsely accused him that he told Buhari to “ignore the protests and not give in to the demands of ‘Twitter warriors’.
He explained that his telephone numbers were posted on social media, thereby, making people reach out to him with curses.
Sanwo-Olu Sends Condolence Message To Seyi Makinde Over Mother’s Death
Recall that InformationNigeria earlier reported that Governor Makinde of Oyo State on Thursday lost his mother, Chief Abigail Makinde.
The governor’s mother passed on at age 81.
Also Read: Governor Seyi Makinde Loses 81-Yr-Old Mother
Reacting to the news, Sanwo-Olu prayed for the dead and consoled the bereaved via his official Twitter handle on Thursday. He wrote:
“I commiserate with Governor @seyiamakinde on the passing to eternal glory of his dear mother, Mrs Abigail Makinde.
While I extend my condolences to the Makinde family, I pray that God grants them the grace and courage to bear the loss. May mama’s soul rest eternally.”
I commiserate with Governor @seyiamakinde on the passing to eternal glory of his dear mother, Mrs Abigail Makinde.
While I extend my condolences to the Makinde family, I pray that God grants them the grace and courage to bear the loss. May mama's soul rest eternally. pic.twitter.com/EaFIlq3Uv3
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 15, 2020
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