- PDP: None of the persons have been convicted.
- It betrays FGâ€™s wickedness, desperation to mislead the public and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members
- Reno Omokri: President benefitted from Dasukiâ€™s money
By Tobi Soniyi, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Eromosele Abiodun and Bayo Akinloye
In response to the challenge of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday released the names of six individuals, including PDPâ€™s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, whom he alleged participated in the â€œlooting of the nation’s treasury.â€
In a swift reaction, the PDP said the list was hollow and laughable, adding that the Buhari-led federal government had manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court â€œin which none of the persons have been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members.â€
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, the minister alleged the PDP National Chairman collected N200 million on the 19th of Feb 2015 from the office of then NSA.
He also claimed that some of the PDP members on trial for sundry offences were already asking for a plea bargain.Â
The Minister said:Â Â “The PDP has challenged us to name the looters under its watch. They said they did not loot the treasury. Well, I am sure they know that the treasury was looted dry under their watch. Yet they decided to grandstand. This shows the hollowness of their apology to Nigerians.
“Let’s just give them a teaser with this list: PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus – On the 19th of Feb 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of then NSA; Then, PDP Financial Secretary – On the 24th of Oct 2014, he took N600 million only from the office of then NSA.
“Then, National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh- On trial for collecting N1.4b from the office of then NSA;Â Â Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications – On trial for taking N2.1 billion from the office of then NSA; former SSA to President Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei- On trial over N830 million kept in accounts of four different companies; former President Jonathan’s cousin Robert Azibaola- On Thursday, a Federal High Court ruled that he has a case to answer for collecting $40 million from the office of then NSA.”
Mohammed claimed he list was just a tip of the iceberg, a fact he said, the PDP was aware of.
The minister said that government did not make these cases up and that those interested could verify from the courts.
The minister said: “Some of the people on this list are seeking to plea bargain, and that is a fact. We insist that Nigeria was looted blind under the watch of the PDP, and that the starting point in tendering an apology is for them to return the loot.
“It’s like a robber admitting to stealing your car and apologizing, but then saying he will keep the car anyway. It doesn’t work that way.”
The minister also aligned himself with the position of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who on Thursday said that APC-led government would not stop talking about the massive looting that took place under the PDP.
He said: “We will not stop talking about the massive looting by the PDP. They brought Nigeria to this sorry pass. We are now looking around for loans to build infrastructure, and they ask us not to talk about it. We will talk about it.”
In a swift reaction, the PDP dismissed the list of alleged looters as hollow and laughable.
The party said the list was an extension of the federal governmentâ€™s media trial and challenged it to come up with names of its members against whom the federal government had secured convictions.
PDPâ€™s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the list issued by the Minister of Information only goes to show that the APC and the Presidency have no proven cases of corruption against the PDP.Â
The party said in its frenzy and desperation, the federal government even included names of individuals who were not standing trial or under investigation for any act of corruption, as well as those who were not even PDP members.
Ologbondiyan said: â€œThe Buhari-led Federal Government has manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court in which none of the persons have been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members.
â€œWe are not in doubt that the individuals he has mentioned will take their legitimate stride and pursue appropriate action in the court. However, attacks on individuals, who are members of our party, does not in any way detract from the fact that the PDP, as a political platform, is not a party of corruption.
â€œIt is unfortunate that the APC and its government under whose watch horrendous sleazes are happening on daily basis and a government that has failed to fulfill the littlest of its campaign promises, can spend a wholesome three years searching for flimsy allegations to discredit our party and its members.
â€œThis is a government that is yet to account for $26 billion (N9 trillion) stolen through corrupt oil contracts in the NNPC; N1.1 trillion worth of crude diverted to service APC interests; N18 billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) intervention fund stolen by APC officials, including their former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal; the N10 billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for which members of the Buhari cabal were indicted as well as the Mainagate, where the APC government recalled and reinstated an individual indicted for scam running into billions of naira.
â€œThis is in addition to cover provided for serving ministers indicted for corrupt enrichment, among whom is a prominent former APC governor from the South-south, who was indicted by his state for stealing billions of naira to fund President Buhariâ€™s campaign in 2015.
â€œSince, the APC has decided to draw this attack, we will no longer hold back but appropriately commence a serialization of all looters hiding in APC and the Presidency.
Ologbodiyan had earlier accused Osinbajo of not being bold enough to mention names of those he claimed stole public funds.
Ologbondiyan said the vice president was only fond of bandying figures he could not trace to a personality in the PDP.
While featuring on a programme on Channels Television, Thursday evening, Ologbondiyan cautioned the vice president to either â€œkeep quietâ€ or present a list of PDP members who amassed wealth through illegal means.
â€œWe want to caution the Vice-President that he should stop bandying figures. Anytime the Vice-President has the opportunity to face the camera, he begins to announce figures that he cannot support,â€ he said.
â€œOur advice to him is that as a professor of law, he knows the pathway to follow when you accuse somebody of corruption. We challenge him to stop bandying figures but he should mention names of those who he claimed corrupted themselves. And if he cannot mention their names and he cannot charge them to court and he cannot cause their arrest and he cannot even list these people, he should keep quiet.
â€œWhy canâ€™t they come out and say in the last three years, we have done these, we have done that? All they do is to come back and say the last 10 years of the PDP, last five years of PDP. Is that what Nigerians are asking?
Reno Omokri: Buhari Benefitted from the Dasuki
Meanwhile, a former Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on New Media, Reno Omokri, has alleged that President Buhari was a beneficiary of the alleged misappropriated money meant to buy weapons to prosecute the war against Boko Haram insurgency.
The former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, is on trial for his role in the disbursement of the money.
Also yesterday, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed released the names of six individuals whom he alleged participated in the looting of the nation’s treasury.
Describing how Buhari became a beneficiary of the Dasuki money, Omokri told THISDAY in an exclusive interview: â€œDo not forget that it was Dasukiâ€™s job to keep the nation safe and that included protecting VIPs whose death may lead to tension or even war in the country. On July 23, 2014, Buhari escaped an attack by Boko Haram in Kaduna which killed 82 people when Boko Haram escalated their insurgency. Some of the money they are alleging that Dasuki stole was used to protect Buhari and other high-profile individuals particularly those in the North.
â€œBuhari got armoured vehicles for his protection, because of the large heart of the Jonathan administration, because Jonathan did not want his life to be imperiled. Confront the Presidency. Ask them how much did Dasuki spend protecting candidate Buhari and where did that money come from?â€
According to Section 3 (1) of the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads of State (And other Ancillary Matters) Decree of 1999, a former head of state is entitled to only three vehicles to be bought by the federal government and liable to be replaced every four years.
â€œThe Goodluck Jonathan administration, however, purchased an armoured vehicle for Buhari following the attack on his life.â€
The former aide to Jonathan explained the reason the administration took that decision: â€œBuhari was not entitled to an armoured car, but Dasuki went out of his way to import a specialised armoured vehicle that could resist bombs and bullets to protect Buhari. Go on the Internet and find out how much that cost. The Jonathan administration was under no obligation to provide Buhari with an armoured SUV but because you had decent people in authority; they valued Buhariâ€™s life and went beyond what the law prescribes.â€
Speaking further, Omokri claimed that there was more to the allegation against and trial of Dasuki than meets the eye.
â€œIf they are talking about money paid to the National Security Adviser, in all fairness, money was paid to Colonel Dasuki. But the man did not steal it as is being alleged. Dasuki said he is ready to meet them in court, but they said they want a secret trial. Dasuki said, â€˜You claimed I stole money and never bought weapons, so why do you want a secret trial?â€™ Between the Buhari government that wants a secret trial and Dasuki who wants a public trial, who has something to hide?â€ he said.