Pilot Law

FG needs to account for recovered whistle-blower fund


Sulyman Abaya is one of the legal practitioners in Kwara State jurisdiction who has carved strong forte for himself in the advocacy for good governance. In this interview, he discusses with KAYODE ADEOTI the reason Federal Government should not borrow but use recovered looted funds to finance infrastructural projects in the country. Excerpts:

Recently, the acting EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu announced that the commission has recovered N29bn so far courtesy whistle-blower. Members of the public want to know how this money has been expended or will be expended, Do you subscribe to this?
It is a thing of respect for the present government to have recovered whopping billions of naira from whistle-blower tip off. The citizens in the country have seen the commendable efforts FG has made towards realising elicit funds stalked in accounts, homes and of course underground. I must commend the legal step taken by the government. Ostensibly, the Attorney-General of the Federation and some legal experts are making sure these funds go through the processes of law through court orders. However, the citizens of Nigeria who have experienced great pains in the unprecedented economic quagmire, though government has pronounced that we have overcome the hard times but from all indices on ground, nothing of such seems to have happened. In the face of these hard times, the question on the lips of every Nigerians is; where have these fund recovered from whistle blowing tip off gone or going into? As it is, we believe the money has gone into the Federal Government’s coffers ready to be used for the benefit of Nigerians in the areas of infrastructure, provision of food shelter and housing and many more but regrettably it is not. There is a duty on our government to tell us the position of the monies. We may think it has gone into the consolidated account; there is need for the FG through the National Assembly to put it in the economy so that Nigerians can be relieved. In the coming days, suit will be filed against the government for the non-disbursement of the fund into the economy. Just yesterday (Sunday), the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun declared that the country will have to borrow in order to finance infrastructure. This however calls for curiosity from members of the public over the whereabouts of the fund that has been recovered through court order and that has not been appealed against. We don’t need to borrow; a person who borrows is the one that has nothing on ground.
Following the feud between State Minister of Petroleum and NNPC Boss, would agree to the call by the ACF for their probe?
Arewa Consultative Forum is a social political organisation, mind you, they are being alive to the their responsibility… but the first person who has the duty of telling the people the impropriety in the action that is being taking by the FG is the Attoney-General and Minister for Justice. He has right to challenge inadequacies in the government circle, that is why people are clamouring that there must be separation of office of the Minister and an Attorney. When you say an attorney, by calling, he is one who is able to lead according to Thomas Apara Williams, the first Nigeria lawyer. But unfortunately, he is an appointee of the FG, he has been able to separate his office from the polity or those people who appointed him. He should have been the first person that will bring to fore the allegation in the NNPC and the one made by the Minister of Petroleum. When such allegations were made against the NNPC boss, he was suppose to be first suspended, while the allegation is investigated, suspension is not a conviction, it is only a means of interregnum or a reliving of post for the purpose of finding out the true picture of an allegation. Government should set up a probe panel, an executive one for that matter, the allegation should not be carried about in a political smoke. The government must follow rule of law in this matter because if it is not followed, a lot of things will collapse. The resolution of the NASS says that the particular head of anti corruption agency should not be confirmed or be removed, even if that person is a saint or an angel, the rule of law postulates that having be validated by NASS, Magu should have been removed by now, and that would have shown that government is leading by the law not law by the government. We will agree that chapter 2 of constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria has lay down that every individual should have access to infrastructure.
How do you see actions of the FG as regards series of corruption allegations levelled against former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Madueke?
I must commend the FG for coming out with those allegations against Madueke and her cohorts but it has not done well. Why I said this is because justice must not only be said to have been done but must be seen to have been rightly done. In Nigeria today, the first lawyer we have is the Attorney-General of the Federation and FG has been able to demonstrate a gloomy picture of Nigeria judicial system through him. When AGF came point black to say Madueke should be tried in the UK, it shows that their judiciary is above board. But, it’s a serious indictment on the integrity of our judicial system…

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