Some legislators from Delta State in the House of Representatives have jointly moved a motion urging the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, to “stop forthwith further appropriation/and or disbursement of recovered loot of the £4.2m pending the final determination of the matter by the House.”
The lawmakers insisted that the £4.2m (N2.2bn) seized from former Governor James Ibori should be taken back to the state whose treasury was looted.They also alleged that the actual amount is £6.2m, and not £4.2m.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted the motion jointly moved by Delta representatives,
The lower chamber, therefore, resolved to investigate the circumstances surrounding the recovery and planned disbursement of the loot.
It asked the Federal Government not to spend the seized money until it concludes an investigation of the repatriation process.
The House also requested the ministry and the AGF to furnish the House with all particulars relating to the recovered money, while directing the House Committees on Finance, Justice, Loans, and Recovered Funds to “investigate this matter and revert to the House within two weeks.”
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 the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and Messrs Victor Nwokolo, Nicholas Mutu, Leo Ogor, Nicholas Ossai, Julius Pondi, Ben Igbakpa, Efe Afe, Thomas Ereyitomi, and Francis Waive.
Moving the motion, Elumelu said, “The House notes that the sum of £4.2m, 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 House is aware that the said recovered looted funds belongs 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, i.e. Bayelsa and Abia states, 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 short-changed/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the state as well as provide the requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.”
The lawmakers also disputed the amount being claimed by the Federal Government.
“From all indications and information to Delta State indicate 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 motion partly read.
The United Kingdom, yesterday, made a commitment to return £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori to the federal government.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Government represented by Malami in Abuja to the effect.
Speaking during the occasion, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the money would be used for Federal Government projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge, and the Abuja-Kano rail.
The minister gave no indication that Delta State would receive a portion of the funds, a development which had rejected by the state government.