Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has commended the ranking Senator in the United States Congress Senator Chuck Grassley for objecting to the rapid return of some of the public fund stolen by former military leader General Sani Abacha to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration unconditionally.
HURIWA stated in a media release at the Weekend that the objective and sound judgement made by the Congress man on the deployment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by President Muhammadu Buhari for political vendettas and victimisation of political rivals are very factual and the allegation of political witch-hunt by EFCC as made correctly by the United States Senator is just a re-emphasis drawing from the consistent reports of same indictment of the anti-graft commission as a political tool as repeatedly made by the States Department of the United States Of America in its annual Country reports on human rights on Nigeria since the last three Years.
HURIWA stated thus: “We are a little bit disappointed that the hierarchy of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) through its just publicised reaction to the American Senator’s indictment of its one-sided anti-corruption drive has shown that since the last three or two years that the USA consistently criticised its operational modalities, it never bothered to address those concerns and has only just woken up from institutional loss of memory and slumber to disagree with the well thought out position of the distinguished Senator Chuck Grassley. Only two months ago, in a well detailed and properly articulated human rights report on Nigeria, the States Department of the United States of America lambasted the Ibrahim Magu-led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the consistent pathern of selective prosecution of politically exposed persons of rival Peoples Democratic party(PDP). If we may ask, how many core Northern Moslem former governors have been successfully prosecuted by the EFCC and punished by the competent Court of law? How come that the few out of the over 21 indicted former governors that eventually got convicted are all Christians? What of the former Bauchi State governor Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Muazu who also became National Chairman of Peoples Democratic party and reportedly and allegedly compromised his party’s chances in the 2015 Presidential election leading to the declaration of his kinsman Muhammadu Buhari of the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner against the PDP’s incumbent President Dr Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern minority Christian President of Nigeria? How come that the allegations of corruption against him (Adamu Muazu) were never taken forward and he eventially crossed over to the current ruling party of All Progressives Congress (APC)? How come the former governor of Borno state Ali Modu Sherriff who was even reportedly indicted and accused by EFCC of buying personal exotic jets worth millions of dollars from allegedly stolen Borno State’s fund and his case never went beyond the media showmanship because he is reportedly an In-law of President Muhammadu Buhari? What of the former Gombe state governor Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje accused of N5billion heist but was pardoned when he allegedly agreed to a deal to step down for Ahmed Lawan who is Muhammadu Buhari’s Candidate for Senate President? How come the immediate past governor of Borno State Senator Kashim Ibrahim Shettima is reportedly so rich that he has allegedly amassed over $900 million as reported by Wikipedia but he is not a person of interest to EFCC even to at least tell us how he came into stupendous wealth of thrle report on tje internet that has ot been contradicted till today that we referenced it is anything to go by? So the letter by this United States Senator couldn’t have been written at a better time.. The American Senator is an Angel of honesty who has nothing to gain by speaking out the blunt truth about the staggering situation of corruption now in Nigeria by a bunch of officials that have destroyed our national economy and made Nigeria a beggar for foreign loans all around the World.”
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said that for the mere fact that both the governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom have objected to a surreptitious plot by President Muhammadu Buhari to funnel $100 million to the Kebbi state governor Alhaji Bagudu Atiku is a strong indication that the current Nigerian government is not in any way committed to the fight AGAINST corruption when the same Kebbi state governor is accused of aiding and abetting the late maximum military ruler General Sani Abacha to pillage the resources of Nigeria and funnel these humonguous wealth to private accounts all over the World. Can USA and UK be wrong on this one thing and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is right? There is no smokes without fire moreso when the last loot recovered from Abacha have been frittered away to ghost beneficiaries going by emerging facts that the Presidency can not provide verifiable and concrete records of the beneficiaries so how can the USA be certain that the rogues embeded in the current federal government wouldn’t re-loot the retrieved loot stolen by Abacha? So HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) absolutely supports the call for a tight conditional return of the loot by the United States of America and the United Kingdom as the case may be”.
“HURIWA as a platform of patriotic Nigerians, we condemn the Nigeria’s anti-graft agency for its wholly thoughtless criticism of a letter from a powerful U.S. senator questioning the return to Nigeria of more than $300 million in funds looted by former military ruler General Sani Abacha. HURIWA is convinced that the disagreement relating to a tri-partite agreement signed in February between the United States, the British dependency of Jersey and Nigeria, rightly presents a challenge regarding the extent to which the United States will aid efforts to move cash back to Nigeria not due to any fault of either the USA or UK but because of widespread corruption amongst top federal government officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration who can’t even provide information as simple as the list of beneficiaries of the so called conditional cash transfer to the poorest of the poor. Recently we were insulted and our conscience as a nation blighted by the irrational explanation offered by the Special Adviser to Mr President Mrs Maryam Uwais who even reportedly told a television station that the beneficiaries do not want to be identified as poor people. This illogicality and insensitivity are exactly why the USA and UK are right to attach stringent conditionality for returning any further Abacha loot to the current administration of Muhammadu Buhari that does not respect the principles of transparency and accountability. Let us even recall that the current President who worked as chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund then set up by the dictator Abacha was quoted before he won the 2015 Presidential poll as denying that General Sani Abacha stole any public fund when it was notorious that the maximum military ruler late General Sani Abacha who ruled Africa’s largest oil producer from 1993 until his death in 1998 was cited in a report by Corruption watchdog Transparency International to have amassed an estimates of as much as $5 billion of public money stolen by him during that time, though he was never charged with corruption while he was alive. So even from the perspective of doubts that the current Administration with a head who saw Sani Abacha as a Saint, it is likely that the resources retrieved may be re-looted unless the USA and UK COULD attach a stringent conditionality that may include economic sanctions to target the Nigerian President and his officials and families including the freezing of the assets if the retrieved cash is re-looted”.
“HURIWA is aware that Nigeria has been working with governments worldwide in recent years to help repatriate some of the funds stolen by Abacha and boost its finances. So we support the vigilance of both the USA, UK and the Congressional officials of the United States Senate that are alert to be sure that the looted money diverted by Abacha to foreign jurisdictions if repatriated would not be stolen again going by the preponderance and high number of thieving officials that are still active in the current Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and coupled with the disturbing phenomenon that the Country’s anti corruption bodies have all been hijacked by All Progressives Congress and politicised”.
HURIWA recalled that the U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley earlier this month wrote to the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s anti-money laundering unit asking for proof that funds returned to Nigeria would go toward infrastructure projects, as its government has stated.
HURIWA recalled that the Senator Grassley said “it seems odd that the (U.S.) DOJ would help facilitate the payment of $320 million to the Nigerian government without first insisting on proper safeguards to prevent the further misuse of funds.Given all these circumstances, it is critical for Congress to understand what steps the United States government is taking, before it helps transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to Nigeria, to ensure that the money is not fuelling more corruption and government abuses.”