The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked a former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to “apologise to Nigerians for claiming recently that recovered Abacha loot was transparently spent while she knew that $322m (about N63billion) recovered Abacha funds were inappropriately released to finance the fight against Boko Haram”.
SERAP has recently been asking the former Minister questions on how the recovered Abacha loot was spent under her watch after she told the World Bank that the monies were spent on electricity, roads, education and health projects in Nigeria.
SERAP’s statement Thursday followed Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s admission on Wednesday that she released about $322m to the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki for “urgent security needs”.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said, “The truth about the spending of Abacha loot is now coming out, and it is clear that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was wrong to accuse SERAP of bias while she knew that we are simply seeking truth, justice and accountability on the spending of recovered Abacha loot”.
“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s approach of ‘no answers, no apology’ on how Abacha loot was spent is doing her reputation more harm than good. We hope that she will take cue from the World Bank (her former employer) when it defined ‘accountability and probity’ as knowing what task has been set, accepting to do it, and going about it with a sense of probity.
“Probity implying the willingness to self-disclose such information to which a specific stakeholder group has a right as well as tolerance of the scrutiny of such a stakeholder group on information to which they have a right”, the organisation said.
“We therefore urge her to now come out for the sake of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty but also of generations as yet unborn and tell Nigerians the whole story about what exactly happened to recovered Abacha loot, as well as publicly apologise for claiming that Abacha loot was transparently spent. She should be willing to be held to account”, SERAP added.