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Analysts Applaud Order to Release $5bn Abacha Loot Details

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Some public analysts have commended the court judgments that ordered former Nigerian presidents to release details of the expenditure of $5 billion of Abacha loot.

On Friday 7 July, a Federal High court in Abuja ordered Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari to account for the loot within seven days.

The order followed a Freedom of Information suit brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

Justice James Kolawole Omotosho asked the Ministry of Finance to furnish SERAP with the full spending details of about $5 billion Abacha loot.

A Public Affair Analyst, Marcus Ijioma is now calling on the leaders to embrace accountability in governance, saying that public officeholders should be held liable for the misappropriation of public resources managedby them.

At any point in time, anyone can be called upon. Even without a court judgment, it is advisable that our leaders be held accountable for resources gotten during their administration,’’ he said.

It is a welcome development. Definitely, we needed a court judgment for it to come public, but this is something they should have done voluntarily.

What we should look out for, for now, is to set up stronger institutions that would look at these accountability issues.

The Chairman of Rivers State Civil Society Organization, Enefa Georgewill, is appealing to the current administration and international bodies to join forces with SERAP to see towards the implementation of the court judgment.

In his words: “We agree with our counterparts that the former presidents should give an account for the Abacha loot recovered under their watch. This would serve as a deterrent to other public officeholders who may want to misuse public funds.

I am applauding the judgment of Justice Omotosho. I want to plead with the current government not to appeal that judgment. We are calling on the former administrations especially that of former President Muhammadu Buhari to answer this call in order to keep a clean sheet in the eyes of the public as well as the international community,’’ he stated.

Some Port Harcourt residents agree that the court order should be urgently obeyed.

This is a good judgment and should be strictly adhered to,” Okopidoh Eshiet, an electrical engineer, said.

If this money has been discovered, what was it used for? the masses are suffering and they say so much has been recovered from the loot,’’ he added.

They should channel the money recovered into various sectors of the nation.

A trader, Pius Ajeh, also wondered what the recovered loot was spent on.

If they really served the people as they have claimed then they should be accountable to us.

If they have also siphoned the money then they should be prosecuted. We commend SERAP. This case shouldn’t die off like those of the past. I encourage them to reject any form of suppression or bribery that may arise just to make them back off,’’ he said.


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