The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Finance to stop forthwith any plans to appropriate/and or disburse the £4.2 million recovered from family and friends of former Delta State Governor James Ibori pending the final determination of the matter by the House.
It requested the Federal Ministry of Finance and the attorney general of federation to furnish the House with all particulars relating to the recovered money.
Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria and the government of the United Kingdom on Tuesday signed an agreement for the return of £4.2 million recovered from family and friends on the former governor. Thereafter, Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, said the recovered fund would be committed to the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano Highway, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
But the Green Chamber on Wednesday directed the House Committee on Finance, Justice and Loans and Recovered Funds to investigate the matter and revert to the House within two weeks.
These resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by the Delta State Caucus.
Moving the motion on behalf of the Caucus, House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, noted that the sum of £4.2 million being proceeds of looted funds recovered from a former governor of Delta State was being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and or Parliament.
Elumelu said the recovered funds belongs to the people of Delta State and as such ought to be refunded to the coffers of the Delta State Government for developmental purposes, adding that assets seized by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from states were returned to such states including Bayelsa and Abia.
He expressed worry that if the Federal Government was allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the Delta State Government, the people of Delta State will be short-changed/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the state as well as provide requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.
The lawmaker said all information available to Delta State “indicates that the actual money is £6.2m” and that the Federal Government should ensure that the total of £6.2m is credited, not £4.2m as stated.
He said he believes that unless the Federal Government of Nigeria is halted immediately “from further dealing/tampering with the said fund, the recovered loot may not be accounted for and or have any direct bearing or benefit to the people of Delta State (who are being deprived of the fund) in terms of infrastructures or people-oriented projects”.
Briefing journalists, Minority Caucus in the House insisted that the money belongs to Delta State government and should be remitted to it for infrastructural development and economic empowerment of the people.
The Caucus led by Elumelu said they were fighting a just cause as such injustice could affect any other state or region in the country.
“The supposed recovered money which in two weeks’ time should be in Federal Government coffers is Delta State government’s money. We have no reason to deprive Delta State government of the opportunity of using that money to further develop the state by using it to put infrastructural assets in place,” Elumelu said.
Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) called on the Federal Government to use the money to put in place infrastructure projects in Delta and the entire South/South region.