The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, wednesday disclosed that the cash transfer programme involving the recovered $322 million Abacha loot will be stringently monitored to ensure transparency.
This is coming as the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itsey Sagay, has said that owing to the lack of appreciation from the citizenry, he would have given up on Nigerians if he was to be in the shoe of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it recovered N20 billion from corruption suspects in Lagos State alone this week.
Osinbajo said monitors would visit the individual households that have been identified through “deliberate targeting.”
The vice president spoke in Abuja when he launched the Monitoring of Recovered Assets through Transparency and Accountability (MANTRA) Project.
It was at a roundtable organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to mark the First African Day of Anti-Corruption.
The roundtable had the theme: “Enhancing Domestic Resources for Sustainable Development Goals by Improved Asset Recovery and Asset Return”.
Special Adviser to the President on Social Protection, Mrs Maryam Uwais, who represented the vice president, said the beneficiaries of the cash transfer are households contained in the National Social Register that was built using targeted machanisms to identify poor and vulnerable households.
PACAC Executive Secretary, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, speaking on the sidelines of the roundtable, said cash transfer programmes are done globally.
“It’s a temporary thing to bring people out of poverty and including them in social welfare. The register being used was developed by the last administration, working with the World Bank. It’s not being done on political party basis. Ekiti, Oyo and Kwara States had the framework, and that’s why they had a head start.
“Monitors go there directly to check. It’s not by calculation. If it were left to politicians, they’d put people they want. But that is not happening. The media should go and check it out. Conditional cash transfer was going on before Abacha money was returned.
“Do you know there are people who have never held N2,000 in their hands? The Swiss judgment is clear: the money should be used for Nigerian people and should be monitored by the World Bank. Based on the parameters in the MoU, nobody can steal the money unless the World Bank is complicit,” Owasanoye said.
Speaking on the message titled: “Fight Against Corruption and Attainment of Sustainable Development Goals Under the Buhari Administration”, Sagay said the Buhari administration had made tremendous progress in the anti-corruption war, including the recovery of assets valued at N1 trillion.
He however, regretted that despite these enormous achievements, some Nigerians, especially the elite are pushing a contrary narrative to frustrate the efforts for the simple fact they no longer have access to easy money, unlike under the past administrations.
To this end, he said either Buhari call the bluff of “ungrateful Nigerians” who are complaining or thrown in the towel and allow them to suffer the consequences of his failure to carry on with his anti-corruption projects.
“So a lot is going on and I said the elites, and I will always emphasise the elites, because the ordinary Nigerian is appreciative. The elites are pretending not to know what is going on; they are pretending that they are not seeing the change. They are pretending as if we are carrying on in the way, the wasteful and turbulent way this country used to be run, because they are beneficiaries of the bad system. Easy money is no longer coming to their pockets; they are now having to work for their living and therefore, they are agrieved and pretending that they don’t know that anything is happening.
“This government is a very patient government. I, personally, I am an impatient man. What if I were the head of state, I would have thrown in the towel and tell Nigerians ‘go and suffer the fate you deserve. Go and suffer the fate you were experiencing before 2015’, so that they can go back to that system of bribery, corruption, rottenness, which we have seen this country to a state of total destruction,” Sagay said.
Sagay added that “contrary to the narrative being pushed into the media, both regular and social, by the aggrieved beneficiaries of corruption, the war against corruption under the Buhari Administration has been a huge success”.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency has said it recovered N20 billion from corruption suspects in Lagos State alone this week.
EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, said it also secured 42 convictions in the state between January and July.
Magu, who was represented by EFCC Zonal Head in Lagos, Akaninyene Ezima, spoke in Lagos yesterday during an anti-corruption walk to mark the African Anti-Corruption Day with the theme ‘Africa unite against corruption.’
The walk was organised in collaboration with civil society organisations including Women Arise for Change Initiative and Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA) among others.
Women Arise president, Joe Okei-Odumakin, urged Nigerians to speak out against corruption and keep the faith that the country would get better.
Also, a Federal High Court in Lagos wednesday authorised the EFCC to sieze N200 million allegedly kept in several commercial banks by two military officers and their three firms.
Justice Sule Hassan ordered that the sum be forfeited to the federal government, pending the conclusion of investigation as to their origins.
The officers are: Adamu Bello Argungu and John Onimisi Ozigi, while their firms are: Falsal & Co Global Services Nigeria Ltd; Diamond Head Ventures & Development Company Ltd; and Sweetex Bureau De Change Ltd.
In a related development, Magu has urged Nigerians to take ownership of the anti-corruption war to ensure maximum success and ensure a better society.
He made this call yesterday in Abuja during anti-corruption walk across the country, as part of activities to mark the 2018 African Anti-Corruption Day
Led by Magu, the walk which took-off from the EFCC’s Old Head Office, Wuse 2, Abuja en route Unity Fountain terminated at Eagles Square, Abuja.