Reverend David Ugolor, member of the 22-man Inter-Ministerial Committee on the disposal of all assets forfeited to the federal government, has accused the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq of corruption for non disclosure of records of expenditure on the recovered $325m stolen by Nigeria’s former Head of State, Sani Abacha, public.
In April 2018, the federal government of Nigeria confirmed the receipt of $322.51 million from the Switzerland government. In the same month, the Nigerian government began the disbursement of N5, 000 to cash beneficiaries to vulnerable people across the federal.
On Tuesday, Ugolor, who is also the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, alleged that the scam which has lingered on for the past one year when he featured at Good morning Nigeria programme on the Nigeria Television Authority, which was monitored by TheNewspad.com
He alleged that the ministry have bee denying members of Civil society Organizations (CSOs) independent monitors access to data on the disbursement of the fund.
He also alleged that the action of the minister besmirches the reputation of ‘Nigeria’s anti corruption Czar’, President Muhammadu Buhari before the international Community if her excesses is not urgently checked.
Ugolor recalled that things started to fall apart after the federal government released emergency funds to the ministry to assistant Nigerians cushion the economic effects of Covid-19 last, independent monitors were shut out of activities of the National Social Investment Programme, the ministry began to recruit a parallel “independent monitors”, amounting to duplication of efforts.
He explained that after the money which was converted and initially kept in custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Abuja for onward disbursement of N5000 each to most vulnerable Nigerians across the Federation until the disbursement was suspended.
“As I speak, for note than one year, we have not been having access on the disbursement of Abacha’s loot and that is a huge problem.
“I challenge the federal the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to publish data on how Abacha’s loot was spent…I challenge them to put it in public.
“Remember that there was a contract between Nigeria government, Swiss government and the World Bank. And as we speak, Stakeholders do not know what is happening…”.
According to Ugolor, “But in a situation whereby the minister wants to also own and control those who monitor asset recovery is a problem…I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the minister that recovery Abacha II $325m has not finished, but we have been having challenge.
“It is the interest of the federal ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster management and Social Development to provide Nigerians with the right information about what is happening. What is happening is that that the money (Abacha’s loot) was clouded with the money that the federal government released during the Covid-19 for humanitarian assistance to Nigerians. But at a point in time, the international Community would want to know what is happening to II Abacha money”, he lamented that the disbursement of NSIF is fairly unsuccessful in most States in Southern Nigeria unlike their Northern counterpart due lack of commitment on the part of some Governors in the region.
Responding, Dr. Umar Bindir, Senior Special Assistant to the President and National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme, dismissed the claims by Ugolor.and absolved the minister of any wrong doing.
He accused him and sever other NGOs of being economical with the national Coordinator of the NSIP alleged that non of the 5000 independent monitors outside the independent monitors on asset recovery, is a Staff of the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“I am sorry to say, there is something that is peculiar with Non/Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Associations, CBAs; Unless you are using them, you are not right.
“As for the one that has to do with data or money, the ministry does not handle Abacha’s loot”, he said.
The national Coordinator of NSIP revealed that the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social, does not have access to the Account.