Osinbajo Defends Decision Not to Name Looters

  • NLC urges FG to deploy funds to infrastructure Calls for special courts

Paul Obi and Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Releasing the names of persons from whom the federal government recovered looted funds and assets may jeopardise ongoing investigations, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has said.

Osinbajo stated this in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Mr. Laolu Akande, in Abuja monday

Laolu said the vice president spoke yesterday at the Presidential Villa during a meeting with a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion.

While the government released a list of monies and assets already recovered in the last one year, names of individuals involved were not included.

Osinbajo also explained that the federal government was engaging leaders and people of the Niger Delta regarding the spate of attacks on oil installations in the area, an act he stated amounted to economic sabotage.

But besides reaching out to the people in the area, he said government was also beefing up security.
According to him, the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari presidency “is to ensure that the man on the street in the Niger Delta receives the benefit from all that is available there.”
He also called on the leaders in the region to be accountable to the people.

Osinbajo added that government was working round the clock to minimize the losses arising from the attacks.
He said: “We are talking, we are ensuring that we minimize losses and we are stepping up security. We are also engaging the international oil companies (IOCs) to see what options exist.”

Osinbajo alo restated government’s commitment to drive its diversification policy and encourage investors from European countries to take advantage of the situation especially in the agro-allied/processing industry.

He restated the determination of the administration to ensure that the ease of doing business ranking in Nigeria improve by at least 20 steps in the World Bank rating.

To this end, the vice-president said the president had approved the composition of a presidential commission on the matter to be chaired by himself.

Earlier, Arrion said he came to hold consultations with the vice president as a follow-up on Buhari’s meeting with EU leaders during his visit to the continent
He said: “Nigeria has a huge market we can invest in. It is also a place we can export from.”

Both the vice-president and the EU envoy also discussed the EU trade deal with ECOWAS, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was also one of the main issues tabled at the meeting of West African leaders over the weekend in Dakar.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) monday urged the federal government to deploy all recovered looted funds to pursue infrastructural development of the country.

According to NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said tilting the looted funds to infrastructure will be helpful, as the nation and all her citizens will be beneficiaries.

Wabba who commended the “government for rendering a transparent account of the recoveries it has made of looted funds,” said more needed to be done.

“The quantum of these recoveries has vindicated our unquantified support for the fight against corruption and our insistence that more stringent punishment be prescribed for corruption cases.
“It has similarly exposed the extent of the rot in the system and why virtually everything in the polity failed to work.

“We recall that in our national rally against corruption, we had made the point that we must look at the bigger picture of national recovery by ensuring that recovered funds be deployed to critical infrastructure such as roads, power, key industries and other sectors capable of stimulating the economy,” Wabba. said.

NLC president stated: “We find it necessary to once again urge the government to deploy these recovered funds to the aforementioned key infrastructure or sectors.
“We also call on the government, in spite of overwhelming challenges, not to relent in its recovery drive and its general fight against corruption, as information reveals that the recovered funds so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We at the NLC believe the importance of the fight against corruption cannot be overstated for a couple of reasons.
“Certainly, we as a people cannot continue to live like this, except we want to be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

“Similarly, our teeming youth and the army of the unemployed who look on to their country for their means of livelihood, will not fold their hands while a few privileged individuals corner the national resources.”
Labour stressed: “We believe for the war against corruption to endure, we as a people must be firm and resolute in our support for good governance and fight against corruption.

“We must entrench the culture of accountability, ensuring that public officers are accountable even out of office.
“In addition to strengthening the anti-corruption agencies, we call for the establishment of special courts to try corruption case.

“The judiciary has a big role to play by ensuring timely and speedy disposal of corruption cases.
“Finally, as more recoveries are made, we expect more disclosures on not just the funds but how they are used or to be used.”