Social Action Nigeria has said the recently recovered three hundred and eleven million dollars $311 million loot of the former Nigeria’s military dictator, General Sani Abacha by Nigeria, is yet one of the key points upon which the present administration in the country will be assessed in terms of transparent and accountable use.
It said, the era and practice of frittering away Nigerians’ common patrimony through contrived and bogus means was over, as citizens would keep close track on the returned funds and insist on justified and transparent use.
According to the Head, Social Action, Nigeria, Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, “Apart from the accountability demands of the citizens, and the gaping need for the resources by the country, it is instructive to note that even the sovereign entities that returned the money to us have warned that Nigeria will refund the money if it fails to keep to the terms of the repatriation agreement, that is, using it judiciously for what it was meant for.
“And so, it was from all angles, pertinent on the federal government to ensure it does not go the ignoble way of many of the country’s recovered assets and resources, which till date cannot be properly accounted for”.
Bellonwu-Okafor further stated that coming at a time as this, when the country is grappling with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and the multi-faceted socio-economic challenges, arising therefrom, including with global dynamics of same, a conscious effort must be made by government to bring development to critical sectors of the economy including the health sector, of which the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inherent weakness in the sector and the dire need for critical intervention to reposition it to play its vital role in the polity, as well as bring discernible improvement to the lots of the Nigerian masses, who have been the victims of orchestrated corruption and looting of the nation’s resources over the years.
She added that the federal government must ensure prudent utilization of this fund and to this end, it must be applied to specific projects that Nigerians can see and benefit from.
“This is against its touting of being used to finance the budget. Such amorphous nature of deployment is what engulfs resources in intractable non-clarity and ultimately end in pillaging. The government must, therefore, publish list of specific projects it intends to utilize the fund on and with concrete timelines for its implementation.
“It is noteworthy, however, the pledge Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that the Federal Government would ensure the transparent use of the returned assets”, she stated.
She therefore expressed hopes that the authorities concerned, would follow through on this commitment towards ensuring that the purposed intendment of the return of the funds was not lost on both the country and its citizens.