Presidency set to disclose recovered loot tomorrow
Opposition Wants Buhari To Name Looters
President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow fulfill the promise he made during his recent trip to Britain that he would disclose the names of those that looted the public treasury and the amount so far recovered from them on May 29, the Democracy Day.
However, speaking with The Guardian on the issue yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, however, said he could not remember his boss promising that he would disclose names of those who have returned stolen funds on Democracy Day, stressing that the closest his boss said was that he would update Nigerians on how far his government has taken the anti-graft war and how much has been cumulatively returned by the looters.
On whether his boss would disclose names of the looters, Shehu said that the Office of the President is an exalted one, noting that it is not the responsibility of the Office to disclose names of looters.
He said: “Why should the President disclose the names of the looters that returned money, whereas the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is there. It is the duty of the anti-graft agencies to do so.”Shehu said the President was not under pressure from any quarter not to disclose the names of the looters as being speculated.
He stressed: “Just like I have always said before now, nobody can put pressure on the President for anything because he cannot succumb to pressure. He knows what is good for the country and that is what his government has been diligently pursuing for the country since he assumed office.”
Speaking on the Presidency’s position, former National Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, said that if President Buhari is not ready to disclose the loot recovered and names of the looters, he should keep both of them.
Nwanyanwu said: “President Buhari should know that Nigerians want to know those who kept them where they are today, through the brazen looting of public treasury. If the President fails to disclose the identity of the looters, that would amount to an act of cowardice. Nigerians do not know President Buhari to be a coward as a retired military general that have seen all before now.”
In the same vein, the first civilian governor of Enugu State and former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, urged President Buhari to disclose names of the looters and how much they returned, noting that the anti-graft war of his administration would remain a fluke if he fails to do so.
Nwodo said: “As far as I am concerned, the President is trying to repeat the mistake of 1983, whereby some people his government jailed without conviction for embezzling public fund later became governors and senators. If these people were convicted then and strong laws were enacted to bar those convicted from holding public office, we will not witness the impunity we are witnessing in the polity today. If the President fails to disclose looters, convict them and enact laws to bar them from holding public office for life, his government’s anti-graft war will not make any meaning to Nigerians.”
To former Minister of Transport and chieftain of the PDP, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, President Buhari’s decision not to disclose the names of looters tomorrow would amount to doublespeak.
“President Buhari should be mindful of the fact that Nigerians and the international community are watching his government and his utterances. He should be reminded that if he continues like this, nobody would take him serious again. For this reason, President Buhari should not renege on disclosing identities of those who returned loot and how much they have returned as he earlier promised during his last trip to London. He should be bold enough to stand by his promise by going ahead to disclose the names of the looters that returned loot since he assumed office,” Babatope said.