Lawmakers at the House of Representatives have thrown their weight being Delta State over £4.2 million repatriated to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, saying Delta has a sole right on the recovered assets looted by the state’s former Governor, James Ibori.
They maintained that since the fund was looted from the state’s treasury, the repatriated loot belongs to Delta and not the Federal Government as being speculated in the media.
The lawmakers argued that it would run contrary to all tenets of fair play for the fund to be transferred to the coffers of the apex government for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and parliament.
Moving a motion during the plenary on Wednesday, the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elemelu, said that a similar circumstance had happened where looted funds were returned to Abia and Bayelsa States.
The motion titled “Urgent Need to Halt Appropriation of 4.2 million Pounds Looted Funds Recovered from A Former Governor of Delta State By The Federal Government”, was sponsored by 9 members of the House from Delta state led by Elumelu.
Sponsors of the motion aside from the minority leader Victor Nwokolo; Nicholas Motu; Leo Ogor; Ossai Ossai; Julius Pondi; Ben Igbakpa; Efe Afe, Thomas Ereyitomi, and Francis Waive.
Continuing, he added that contrary to fears expressed by the British Government that the fund would be re-looted, the proceed of the repatriated loot would be expended on infrastructural projects for the development of the state.
“The sum of 4.2 Million Pounds being proceeds of looted funds recovered from a former Governor of Delta State – Chief James Ibori is being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and or Parliament in two weeks time. The said recovered looted funds belong to the good people of Delta State and as such ought to be refunded to the coffers of the Delta State Government for developmental purposes.
“The House is aware that assets seized by EFCC from states were returned to such states. ie Bayelsa and Abia state etc. The House is worried that if the Federal Government is allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the Delta State Government, the people of Delta State will be shortchanged/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the State as well as provide the requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.
“From all indications and information to delta state indicates that the actual money is £6.2m and the federal government should ensure that the total of £6.2m is credited not £4.2m as stated The House believes that unless this halts immediately the Federal Government of Nigeria 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,” Elemelu said.
Adopting the motion, the House directed its Committee on Finance, Justice, Loans, and Recovered Funds to investigate the matter and revert to the House within 2 weeks.
The House also asked the Federal government through the Ministry of Finance to immediately stop the disbursement of the repatriated fund.
The parliament also requested the Federal Ministry of Finance and Attorney General of Federation to furnish it with all particulars relating to the recovered money.