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How FG Is Spending Abacha Loot – Lai Mohammed|The Republican News

Lai-Mohammed

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the money recovered from the late military ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha, is not being shared to the poor and vulnerable as widely believed.

Rather, he said, the money is being deployed in the financing of Federal Government’s social investment programmes comprising four components

He described as “mischievous” the insinuations that the government would share to the poor the Abacha loot repatriated by the Swiss Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mohammed said this on Monday when he paid an official visit to the Abuja office of The Authority newspaper.

“When the first tranche of Abacha loot was paid under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Swiss Government found out that the money was re-looted by those in the administration.

“So, when they wanted to release the next tranche, they put the condition that it must be used for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

“We said there is no problem. It is the money we are using to finance our social investment programmes comprising four components,” the minister said.

Mohammed further said that 8.5 million pupils in government schools across the country are currently being fed under the Home Grown Feeding Programme.

Similarly, he said, over 400,000 families are being paid stipends of N5,000 every month under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

“The beauty of this programme is that it is being done in collaboration with the World Bank.

“It is the World Bank and various agencies that determine the beneficiaries and who are the most vulnerable Nigerians,’’

Mohammed said that part of the money was being used to finance the employment of young graduates through the N-POWER programme.

He said that no fewer than 200,000 people had been employed in the first batch and another 200,000 would be resuming very soon.

“The fourth is the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme whereby market women, craft people etc., are given loan between N50,000 and N100,000

“So, when we say this money is being used for the poor people, it is not as if we are sharing it to poor people in the states,’’ he said.

Mohammed said the Buhari administration would remain accountable and committed to the welfare of the common people.

(NAN)

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2019 Election Will End Inconclusive, Kingibe Plans To Replace Buhari – Mohammed, Ex Spy Chief

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  • Reveals how Kingibe plans to succeed Buhari

Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed is a former National Security Organisation, NSO (Now DSS) Chief and close ally of ex-military leaders: late Generals Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Sani Abacha and former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida. In this interview, he reveals deadly plots going on within the inner circle of President Buhari’s government, which will ultimately lead a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Gingibe to succeed the President after the 2019 polls, which he claims will end inconclusively.

He spoke more on this and more in this interview conducted by KENNY ASHAKA in Kaduna.

Let’s talk about June 12. I know that some of you worked with former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida…
(Cuts in) And Abacha. I was very close to Abacha.

Okay, but what I know is that some of you were in the transition programme of Babangida…
(Cuts in) Definitely, definitely. I was the Adviser on Politics, Economy and Security to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, the late Wazirin Jema’a.

Yes, and what happened that you couldn’t stop the annulment of a transition that was almost coming to an end at that time? Was it something that was beyond your powers?
It had already been…if you observed from what happened in the Jos SDP primary, it was something that has to do with Babagana Kingibe, Abiola and Atiku that brought about all the issues. You remember Pascal Bafyau, the NLC President who became a politician. He played a lot of Babangida’s game during that time, used NLC…you know it was an elongated transition programme that was designed if possible to make Babangida till the time he was going to…

(Cuts in) I don’t understand.
Now you know NLC has a lot of roles to play in supporting a government? Pascal Bafyau played the game for Babangida at that time just like Oshiomhole did. Pascal Bafyau was a pro-Babangida man. So Babangida tried to pay him back by insisting that he should be the presidential running mate of Abiola. So it was because Abiola refused to announce Pascal Bafyau as his running mate and chose Babagana Kingibe instead that caused the annulment of June 12. Abiola had been told by Babangida in my presence that if he did not take Pascal Bafyau…anyway we were following what was happening in Jos during the SDP primary on our satellite programme. We knew every move that was taken, everything that happened there because my boss, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was in SDP. You know he was my former boss. I worked with Yar’Adua as Security Detail in charge of International Security Surveillance. You know our predicament in Nigeria today is because they think that Nigeria is one local government that anybody can be president and manipulate the way you like. We are in the world. At the time America and Israel said they were going to deal with Buhari on certain issues that were happening to Christians in Nigeria I warned Buhari. I was on Facebook and Whatsapp. I warned some of the service chiefs that I know that the American and Israeli consortium will ensure they break Buhari’s government until Buhari will leave the place.
Let’s go back to the real subject matter of the June 12. Why was it impossible for those of you who were civilians working with Babangida to stop the annulment; I mean you were Adviser to a key figure in the government?

It was an agenda already promised that just happened like that because Babangida had already promised Abiola that if you don’t pick Bafyau…Babangida was not on our team. We have a record of everybody. You know that was where my section is. I was a security chief and now having served the defunct NSO as a Director in terms of security surveillance, in terms of interrogation I have to be involved in logistics. I made sure I had to advise them on logistics to make sure that there was no black sheep in the entire arrangement and it was necessary for me to be able to say what is right and what is wrong. It was necessary for us to have information on every human being that was a player in the national scene at that time.

So it was easily conceivable that I had to put on General Babangida’s table everything that was happening in Nigeria. I had to put a tab on Babagana Kingibe as an NSO director and I had to put a tab on Abiola because part of the Abiola’s successes in the North was because of me actually because I talked to the people in Kano to make sure that Abiola…because Babangida actually wanted Abiola to be president; I must tell you honestly. You know the reason why I played a very strong role in the June 12 issue…at least you were one of the reporters that got close to me at that time. Henry Ugbolue and Ojudu were always reporting me at that time. They were reporters close to me reporting everything I was doing at that time.
I am very interested in this next question because you have just said Babangida was interested in Abiola becoming the president.

Why did he annul the election that he (Abiola) was winning?
This is because Abiola refused to make Pascal Bafyau his running mate. But your answer now is contrary to what made the rounds then that some military chiefs were those who instigated Babangida to annul the election because they didn’t want Abiola.

That one came later. Don’t believe that. Are you talking of this Benue man who was in Minna, David Mark? Those were the people who were doing that. I was in charge of security. I and General Akilu were in charge of security; I as NSO chief and Akilu in charge of Intelligence. Don’t believe all these things. People try to say what they want to say because they have stepped out. That is why Babangida has told us that anything we can do to save Nigeria while in retirement we should please do it. I went to Yar’Adua straight and told him to support Babangida’s action that was about to come out because they had betrayed our cause because Babagana Kingibe can never be a Vice-President any day in Nigeria because he has betrayed Nigeria too much.

How did he betray Nigeria?
Because…everything he did was to break Nigeria for his own purpose. We knew this. We had this in our security file. I was in charge of Special Survey because you know like in America the CIA was in charge of Special Survey. That is the word I can use for it because we do not have it in Nigeria but we have it in Washington, in the Pentagon.

What did you find wrong with Babagana Kingibe?
Listen to me. This interview will not take too long. There is one interview that someone gave last week – the betrayal of Kingibe, how Kingibe betrayed Nigeria by Ray Ekpu. He had a full interview on the betrayal of Nigeria by Babagana Kingibe. Everything I can tell you now is there. I read it in the night because I got a phone call from Minna. I read it and made sure that it was alright. You remember Ayu, the Senate President and Ameh Ebute? These were people who were handling the National Assembly because we had a dual government. We had a Military President and a legislature that was operating like…It was when Babangida left that he told me to please guide Abacha very well. That was why the first thing I told Abacha was to dissolve the National Assembly. That’s why all Generals in Nigeria will tell you that Mohammed Abdulrahman was with Abacha when all these things happened. So we had to dissolve the National Assembly because it served no good.

I talked to Shonekan and Kuforiji Olubi. Kuforiji Olubi was my friend. You know the role she played; didn’t you?

What role did she play?
The Interim National Government. It was Shonekan who was president. Kuforiji Olubi was Minister for Interior, actually, Minister for Commerce and National Economy just like Okonjo Iweala was Minister in charge of the economy even though she was Minister for Finance. In our own time, it was Kuforiji that I called and I told her to get ready to make sure that the Interim National Government survived. That is why we decided with Aliyu Jem’a the Secretary to the Government to have a transition committee which was headed by this Jurist, Mamman Nasir from Katsina.

He headed the Transition Implementation Committee. Then, my foster father, Abdulrahman Okene headed the committee in charge of Devolution of Powers between Federal, States and Local Government. You remember that? So when we did all that and gave them their letters of appointment Aliyu Mohammed reported back to Babangida that we had already executed the issue and Kuforiji Olubi was doing our bidding. But when within the military hierarchy it was discovered that there were people who feel they had a dream to be president of Nigeria, Danjuma and Abacha were the only ones that were left out because Obasanjo, Babangida, all these people were in the same group and the same thing. I served all of them as the NSO component of the military regime. So, internally they had a plan that Abacha should become Head of State. We had no control over that plan because you can see that the coup that brought in Abacha was a quiet one, not even one that qualified to be called a coup. Abacha told me to keep faith with him.

That is why I was the closest security chief to him. All the messages…you know when Abacha almost died and he was very ill he sent me personally to Buhari. I went to Buhari, we sat down. He said we should eat, I said no. If the C-in-C sends me I don’t eat in people’s houses. But I made sure the NSO…sorry no more NSO because I wrote the document in which it was transited to SSS and other things to water it down for the civilian dispensation.

So I called the SSS chief in Kaduna to accompany me to Buhari’s house. He received me quite okay. I gave him the document with which Abacha was going to read the Vision 2010 national address because he was very ill. That Vision 2010 address was to make Buhari the Chairman of Vision 2010 so that if he made him the chairman at his best he could easily announce an Interim National Government and make Buhari the president.

Was that the plan?
That was the plan. Mohammed Abdulrahman is telling you today. I am the only one in Nigeria who can tell you that because I was in charge. So that was what we did and I told Abacha that Buhari gave me one week to come back that he was going to look into it. I cannot tell Buhari that we wanted to make him Interim National President. You know the reason we wanted to do that? We wanted Buhari to clean up Nigeria for us with his own handle because his presidency was truncated.

So we wanted to give him another chance. If it is true that he was actually going to deny it, he should leave the PTF and handle the Interim National Government. But I will tell you what happened. My operatives came up with results and findings that they were planning to make Buhari a president through this entire route of the CPC and…

I don’t understand that? Can you come again?

Okay, let me break it down for you. You remember that Ashwey became the Managing Director of Continental Merchant Bank at that time; the bank that was opposite Leventis? Because it was a strategic location Abacha had shown an intention to purchase the building. But Ashwey sold it to Salihijo Ahmad of PTF because they wanted to use it for Buhari for President Campaign Organisation. That is why Abacha told me to move against them.

That is why we interviewed Salihijo. We called him in and investigated PTF. After leaving our place for debriefing, Salihijo went to his office and said he was going home because he had a headache and the wife told him to go to the hospital and see the doctor. He was waiting to see the doctor when he slumped and died.

When I investigated and got my facts right, we first of all detained Ashwey and we debriefed Salihijo. That is why he died. We don’t debrief anybody and he stays alive. I am telling you this because we had enough spiritual powers to back our official power to make sure that anybody who lies to us or lies about us does not live in this world again because we wanted to deliver Nigeria properly. And the ritualists and liars were too many. We had to even invite some of the Israeli security to help us plan what we were going to do at a certain stage. I am sure you heard at that time that Abacha had already forgiven Israel and started a relationship with the Israeli government. I was the one who went to Tel Aviv with a group of top military officers and some civilians to negotiate our recognizing Israel. We felt that was good for Christians and we recognized OIC at the same time. That was what we did to balance it.

We did for Christians and did for Muslims. So the issue is this. I called Ray Ekpu for releasing the betrayal of Nigeria by Babagana Kingibe; that he should never have been in the list of this June 12 thing that Buhari did. Whether it is wrong now or not, I am not going to say it.

Posterity will judge that and Nigerians will react to it. There is the excitement of course because Abiola was badly treated. And Abiola talked to me. You know I was the intermediary between Abiola and Aliyu Mohammed, Wazirin Jema’a, the Secretary to the Government and Wazirin Jema’a, the Secretary to the Government was the intermediary between Abiola and Babangida. What I deliver to Aliyu is what he discusses with Babangida on Abiola because we didn’t want a direct link that the media will look into concerning the relationship and communication between IBB my boss and Abiola. You understand. I hope you are getting it now? So the issue is very simple. We did not expect Babagana Kingibe to be running mate to Abiola because…and of course he betrayed him. Have you read some of the things that happened between the June 12 annulment and now from Babagana Kingibe?

He stood by Abacha. I was there with Abacha.

Babagana was there with us with Abacha. Buhari was there with us with Abacha. After they had refused to work with the document that I delivered to him from Abacha when I came back the following week with the SSS director of Kaduna, he escorted me, he gave me back the document and said he was not interested.

Who?
Buhari who we wanted to make the Interim President. He was waiting for us maybe we will tell him we wanted to make him Interim President. My style is not like that. That was why you heard what happened that he jumped over his fence into the valley around his house and escaped in the night when security took over his house and disarmed all the SSS people that were serving him and broke into his sitting room. By that time he had already jumped over his fence into the valley there. You didn’t hear that?

Who jumped over the fence?
Buhari. Yes in his house on Sultan road.

Why would he do that and why were they after him?
Because he had refused Abacha’s proposal to be president. Nobody refuses Abacha. Even when Buhari was in power nobody refuses him. Hakimi Sokoto died because Buhari refused to allow him to have access to medical attention when Buhari was in power. I am talking of Wazirin Sokoto then. That was why when Buhari was in detention and his mother got sick and died they refused to allow him to go.

But when the mother died they released him. Now, what are your thoughts about this recognition given to Abiola by Buhari?

It was ultimately going to happen, my brother. All the presidents that have passed… Goodluck Jonathan asked for my opinion on this when he was president. I told him to call Abiola’s son and discuss with him. Then he called Kola Abiola. You know I was in retirement and was not a member of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. Was it not your paper that treated about five pages of what happened with ACF and Northern Traditional Leaders on my exposition on the paradigm shift that we profiled to make sure that Goodluck Jonathan becomes president? Didn’t you interview me at that time? The issue is very simple. If Buhari doesn’t play ball in his own government he shouldn’t expect anybody to play ball in their own government. Now, the June 12 issue. There are legal and constitutional procedures, which he has flouted. My old colleague because he is much older than me, himself, Pius Okigbo, Rotimi Williams, all of them we were together. I was the youngest on the Committee of Concerned Citizens. You have the list of the committee members with Yadudu, Hamza Zayyad. Justice Bello, former Chief Justice was once the Chairman, Rotimi Williams, Akintola Williams were all in the 32-member team that they said was going to save Nigeria. I was the youngest of them all.

So how illegal is what Buhari has just done?
After this interview, I will search my IT library what this man, that legal luminary, Ben Nwabueze who was also a member of the Concerned Citizens Committee said. Nwabueze gave a treatise on Buhari’s mistake.

I have it. You must have read it too.

So what is the mistake?
I will send it to you in the next one hour.

Read it and incorporate it into this interview if you want to because there are procedures on all these issues. Look the first problem that Buhari has in dealing with the issue of June 12 is that when Buhari came to power he was excited. He rolled out decrees to make sure that even Journalists that even reported the truth was going to face a death sentence. Do you remember that? In that decree, there were some that had to do with making sure that all actions taken by his military regime cannot be undone.

Buhari is the one who promulgated that decree and I had the privilege of seeing Idiagbon tell him to be careful and that what Buhari has done was going to catch up with him.

Alhaji please address this issue squarely, particularly the one that touches on the illegality of his action. What has this decree got to do with the issue of June 12?

I said he has offended the constitution and his own decree. That is why I am saying there are procedures. There are certain things that cannot be undone and he cannot amend that decree today. He has no right to do so.

But that decree is no longer in force
Ah! No. It is. If you read the decree again you will see it. It is in force forever. The only possibility of changing that Decree is if there is another military coup, certainly not a civilian government. These are the things. And Babagana Kingibe who is now the official cabal that is controlling Buhari through the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, they intentionally did it to make Buhari unpopular. That is what Ray Ekpu is saying.

How would that make Buhari unpopular?
By doing the wrong thing for the right reason. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason. So Babagana Kingibe’s style of betrayal is this; only intellectual and intelligent people can see it because it cannot fly. You think the recognition of changing Democracy Day to June 12 is going to show? There is nothing in the world that says he has powers over Decrees and constitutions and out of excitement we must all lose our heads. Why I am not going to say more is that some things are likely to happen in Nigeria in due course and I don’t want anybody to say that I knew beforehand that it was going to happen. So if you are really my brother let’s leave that aside I cannot tell you more.

Is what Buhari has done on this issue of June 12 positive as far as you are concerned especially when you think of the 2019 election?
The issue is very simple. It’s a good thing in terms of jubilation, but Ayo Opadokun phoned me and asked what does Babangida and now Abacha is dead, I am the voice of Abacha, that what do we think about this issue of Buhari and this June 12? And he said that he smelt a rat. So I told him yes Babagana Kingibe is the rat and that the agenda of Babagana Kingibe is that he wants Buhari to mess up so that he would fail woefully in 2019 election. If post-election violence and anything takes place in Nigeria, Babagana Kingibe wants the money they have thrown on service chiefs and all that to make it possible for an Interim Government to be put on June 12 because there will be no election. The election will be inconclusive so that Babagana Kingibe can be Acting President. For God’s sake, look at that. So I told Opadokun to tell my people because my wife is from Abeokuta…

How would the advice by Babagana Kingibe cause post-election violence?
Put this off record. I am also recording (divulges information to this reporter) That is why I said we should put this information off record.

I asked you how the action taken by Buhari about the June 12 will affect him in the 2019 election. Will it be positive?
It will dislocate Buhari because he is not going to win the 2019 election.

What did you see? What are the indices?
The Yoruba and everybody have decided to ditch Buhari in the election. They called Abiola’s daughter to write a big issue about Buhari. She sent it to me yesterday, but not that I believe in Buhari. I have had cause to help Buhari many times, but he is on his own now. How can a 78-year-old man want to continue to be president of Nigeria when there are younger people?

Is that the reason Opadokun and others will not want him to continue?
No, June 12 is not enough. They know Buhari’s antecedent. They have worked on him. They have known him since his government; they have known him since his machinations in PTF. I am sure you have read the PTF story?

In all sincerity where do you think the southwest will be in the 2019 election? I want you to use your experience as someone who is a former security expert. Some people have said his action is a masterstroke from a master strategist.
It is not a masterstroke anything. He did it for himself. He did it to increase his popularity because his popularity and acceptance have waned. It has gone down terribly. We measured it. America measured it. My Israeli friends measured it and told me about it. So he is trying to beef up his acceptance. Babagana Kingibe is very intelligent. In all the forces in Nigeria, there are not up to three that are the best hands insecurity. Babagana Kingibe was an operative in the NIA.

Do you have any problem with the GCFR and GCON given to Abiola and his running mate, Kingibe respectively?
No, what he gave to Abiola is just fine but it is not done. There are procedures to be maintained, please. You don’t just do things as if it is akara (beans cake) that they are frying on the way. The constitution is our guide. That is why there is no anarchy on our streets. Buhari must obey that constitution because he is an employee of the taxpayers. He is not a president for life. He is not our God. He is a human being. So the positioning and grandstanding of his supporters are meant to destroy him. So, southwest will not vote for Buhari in 2019.

Understand that; they will not and whatever southwest does is what the Igbo will do. Have you not started noticing the body language in the eastern region about what is going on in the present Buhari government? Some of them have started calling on each other not to be sympathetic to Buhari’s 2019 positioning.

And some people have told them Buhari can never be the kind of person in the world that will make it possible for an Igbo presidency in 2023. I am checking all the documents every day even though I am in retirement so that the day anybody thinks he can tell me nonsense if my spirituality is not enough to destroy them I have enough documents to make sure they are caught off guard. Buhari is deceiving them. Please understand that. And let me say this before you call off this interview; you see anything you call anti-corruption actually started from Abacha. During Abacha, PTF was our first call. Immediately Buhari refused to accede to that document that Abacha asked me to take to him we broke down PTF. We wanted PTF to have eastern, south-south, south-west and northern desks because a lot of people started complaining that the PTF was mismanaged. That is why the documents I raised at that time, Buhari’s PTF and the great betrayal that happened under Buhari was put on Facebook recently. I have it. The issue is this. After finishing with PTF our next call was Nigerian Railways. Nigerian Railways was a strong money guzzler. At that time the Yeriman Zazzau, Muniru Ja’afaru was the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railways and General Gumel was the Chairman. So he came to me and told me about the $30million bribe money that the Chinese people gave railway officials. So Muniru Ja’afaru came to me and reported to me. So Abacha said we should debrief Gumel. Unknown to him, Muniru had already told me everything about it. When he finished then I told him what I knew. Then he broke down crying. He went home, had a heart failure and died. So Buhari is not doing a new thing.  (The Sun)

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Buhari Apologises To MKO Abiola Family |The Republican News

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Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, openly apologised to the late Chief MKO Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, for the injustice done to him by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida led military junta.

This is even as he assured that “Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of Justice again.”

The election of June 12, 1993, poll said to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history was annulled by the military president, Gen. Babangida.

President Buhari tendered the apology at the investiture of Chief Abiola as Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) at the State House Conference Centre, the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.

“On behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola, who got the highest vote (in the election) and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of the June 12 struggle,” President Buhari said before getting guests to observe a minute’s silence in honour of those who died.
He said the ceremony was not intended to open old wounds, but to right the wrongs of the past.

According to him, the decision to honour MKO Abiola and to declare June 12 Democracy Day followed years of clamour by the activists, statesmen, groups as well as the family, associates, and friends of the late businessman and politician should be accepted “in good faith” as this will help the nation move forward.

“We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections,” he said.

“Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice. This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country.”

Buhari added that by moving past the negatives of the struggle, Nigerians would be able to fully benefit from June 12.

“Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12 – side of ill-feelings, hate, frustration, and agony. What we are doing today is celebrating the positive side of June 12,” he said.

“Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for Chief MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe – the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections.”

He accused the government of the day of cancelling the elections when it was clear who was going to be the winners.

At the event, the late Chief Gani Fawenhinmi and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe were also conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

Speaking on the Abiola family’s behalf, Hafsat Abiola, one of the daughters of the late icon, who said Buhari’s apology was “very touchy” said the gesture was unexpected considering the relationship that existed behind him and the late Abiola

Hafsat told the audience that Abiola was already rehearsing how to deliver his inauguration speech as the president before the election was annulled.
In an emotion-laden voice, she said her late mother told her how Abiola was standing before a mirror to rehearse his inauguration speech.

“He was born Yoruba but he loved Hausa people, Kanuri, Efik, Igbo people, he loved all, you just needed to be a Nigerian and MKO was your man. If he could help he would do.

There are so many things he already did to show and that was why the people of Nigeria rewarded him with the mandate of June 12, 1993. But we know that he was never able to deliver that speech but in many ways, the event that transpired later revealed to Nigerians the eloquence in his heart, the fidelity of his commitment and even his own deep abiding wish that if there was any way his own actions would in any way compromise the people of Nigeria, MKO preferred to die, he preferred to leave the earth rather than compromise on you, on your integrity as a people and your sovereignty as a nation, which was why even the day before he died when he was still being pressured, he asked the question, how do you shave the people’s heads in their absence? “…And when he died, we accepted his body and have watched in Nigeria as year after year till now, the 25th year, you the people have suffered and he was not recognized at all.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, Nelson Mandela it was who said, ‘It always seems impossible until it is down.’ Who would have ever believed given the relationship that you had with Chief MKO Abiola that you would be the instrument God will use to honour this man and to bring recognition and healing to the country.

“You apologised to my family and it touched my heart. You know that I also lost my mother in this struggle; so that apology meant so much. Let me use this opportunity, on behalf of the Chief MKO Abiola because I know what he would have done, I use this opportunity to apologise to you, to apologise to your family, anything that he might have done to harm you and to harm your family,” Hafsat said.

Also speaking, Kola Abiola, the first son of the business mogul said the Abiola family accepted both the award and the apology.

“We thank you for taking the decisive measures to strengthen our democracy and guarantee our future by reconciling our past,” he said.

Chief Abiola’s running mate, Kingibe, said by recognising June 12, Buhari has contributed the noblest chapter to the checkered history of Nigeria’s nationhood.
Kingibe recalled Abiola as a man of great wit and persuasive powers, full of energy and a great philanthropist truly committed to improving the lot of the poor masses.

Also responding, Muhammed, the son of Fawehinmi, human rights activist and legal icon described Buhari as the first sensitive and reasonable head of state to have listened to the people and acted accordingly. “Today is symbolic because it shows the entrenchment of unity all citizens of this country regardless of your tribe, ethnic background, religious beliefs because we are all Nigerians.”

Stop eulogising Abiola’s tormentors – Soyinka

Also, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka lauded President Buhari’s apology to the late Abiola as a bold step, saying he least expected the president to do so. He, however, admonished him to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to a man he tagged late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”

Buhari had last month eulogised the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul in jail for about five years, for working to provide roads, education and healthcare.

He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country.”

“Mr President since we are honouring heroes of democracy today, I like to request that you manage to stop creating confusion in the minds of Nigerians. It is not possible to honour MKO Abiola in one breadth and admire his tormentor in another breadth. Loyalty is all very well but loyalty can become perverse if that loyalty is retained to an individual, who if he were alive today would be before the International Court of Crimes against humanity, the one who broke the laws of Nigeria, international laws, pauperised this nation. It is confusing if professional loyalty is carried so far as to be accorded such an individual.”

Soyinka also canvassed for the extension of recognition to others who took part in the June 12 struggle which culminated in the present civil rule.

“All that is left to me is to plead so that we do not forget the nameless, the unsung heroes and heroines of that struggle. A number of names have already been listed but I will like to include one of the pioneers, the instigators of the physical confrontations with that dictator, Comrade Ola Oni, who mobilised a number of people and fought the goons and slaves and surrogates of that dictator in that auspiciously named stadium in Ibadan, Liberty Stadium.  But above all, I want us always to remember that individual which we are principally celebrating today, the man who reappeared and represented himself, who did not understand the word surrender, saying my name is Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, I am back to reclaim my mandate.”  (The Sun)

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June 12: Stop Showing Loyalty To Abiola’s ‘Tormentor-in-Chief’, Soyinka Tells Buhari

Wole-Soyinka
                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to an unnamed individual whom he referred to late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”

Some are of the opinion that he had referred to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul to jail for about five years.

Abiola died in prison.

Although Soyinka did not mention Abacha’s name specifically, the Nobel laureate said it was confusing for Buhari to honour Chief Moshood Abiola on the one hand and be admiring the late politician’s “Tormentor-in-Chief” on the other.

He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country” and who should be having his days in court for crime against humanity.

Soyinka said that in a private meeting with Buhari, he had also raised concerns over how the President could be saying his administration was fighting corruption, whereas a major road in the Federal Capital Territory is named after a “corrupt former leader.”

He said he was not satisfied with the response he got from Buhari.

He called on the President to consider establishing a Hall of Shame for those who have wronged the country, just as he puts up Hall of Fame for the nation’s heroes. (Punch)

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Adebanjo, Fayose, Others Blast Buhari For Praising Abacha |The Republican News

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Buhari addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Friday Olokor,  Olaleye Aluko and Oladimeji Ramon

A coterie of political enthusiasts on Wednesday berated President Muhammadu Buhari for commending the late military dictator, Gen. Sani  Abacha.

The coterie, during separate interviews with The PUNCH on Wednesday, described Buhari’s statement as a distraction.

The President had on Tuesday said, “I don’t care the opinion you have about Abacha, but I agreed to work with him and we constructed roads from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Benin to Onitsha and so on.”

Commenting on the statement,  the Chairperson of the Transition Monitoring Group, Dr Abiola. Akiyode-Afolabi, asked, “How can anyone laud Abacha for anything? A looter, a dictator, a killer? The President missed it! Whatever the context, that statement is unwarranted. It’s a distraction, Mr President should respect Nigerians. We all know what Abacha did. Buhari cannot rewrite history.”

He benefited from Abacha’s dictatorship –Afenifere chieftain

Also, a chieftain of the Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo,  said  Buhari spoke well of Abacha because he was his appointee and benefited from the deceased’s dictatorial regime.

Adebanjo said President Buhari had lost his credibility and should not be taken seriously.

He stated, “Buhari worked under Abacha and why are you surprised by his support for Abacha?

“Here is a President who has lost his credibility and some Nigerians are still taking him seriously. I have always spoken about the anti-democratic ideals of Buhari but his supporters at that time told me that Buhari had changed to a democrat.

“From the beginning, President Buhari has always insisted that Abacha did not steal. He said these things repeatedly during his campaigns, but his government has been recovering money looted by Abacha so I am not surprised with Buhari’s comments.”

However, the  President of the National Council of Tiv Youths, Dr. John Akperashi, said the statement had exposed Buhari’s unstable posturing and further confirmed the notion that his purported fight against corruption was selective and self-serving.

He stated, “Abacha’s corruption is legendary. Till today, the nation is recovering his looted funds stashed away in various banks overseas in hard currencies.”

Obasanjo made a mistake for not jailing Buhari –Fani-Kayode

Also, a former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, on his twitter handle said that Obasanjo should have jailed Buhari for allegedly looting the Petroleum Trust Fund.

He stated, “The greatest mistake that OBJ made was not to prosecute and jail @MBuhari for (the alleged) looting of the PTF funds. I saw the report and it was shocking. Billions of dollars had vanished. OBJ summoned him and showed him the damning report. Buhari (allegedly) begged like a baby. Sadly OBJ let him off the hook.”

On his part, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan,  Reno Omokri,  berated Buhari.

He asked, “What type of anti-corruption crusader chooses Abacha, a proven thief, who was also a blood-thirsty buffoon, as his mentor? When I schooled in England, my university had a module on Abacha’s thievery. This is the man Buhari aspires to be; the man who exiled Tinubu and NADECO (the National Democratic Coalition)?”

Fayose mocks Buhari, Obasanjo

But the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has mocked President Buhari and Obasanjo over their latest disagreement on the $16bn allegedly spent on power during the tenure of the former President.

Fayose on his twitter handle said that he was enjoying the public display of “brickbats” between the two leaders.

The governor said that he had been vindicated by his earlier warning that those who brought Buhari would regret it.

He said, “I am enjoying these latest brickbats between President Buhari and ex-President Obasanjo. They should keep exposing themselves for Nigerians to know what they have been hiding.

“Nigerians should remember I warned that those who brought Buhari will regret entrusting him with power.”

Obasanjo recently criticised Buhari and asked him not to seek re-election in 2019.

Buhari on Tuesday said that Obasanjo had questions to answer regarding the $16bn he spent on power project.

Obasanjo in his reply said that the president was ignorant and urged him to read his book “My Watch” to understand the matter.

But the President of the Middle Belt Youths Council,  Emman Zopmal, said Abacha managed the country far better than Buhari.

He stated, “Conversely, Buhari for mere political hypocrisy, has been changing his position on whether Gen. Sani Abacha depleted the national treasure or not. He has of recent, talked about using the $360m Abacha looted funds for some projects but suddenly he is now applauding him.”

Probe Obasanjo, Jonathan over $16bn power projects, SERAP tells Buhari

Meanwhile, a human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to refer the alleged mismanagement of $16bn power projects fund to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission.

The advice came on the heels of lamentation by Buhari on Tuesday that a former President (Olusegun Obasanjo) claimed to have spent $16bn on power projects without any electricity to show for it.

But SERAP, in a statement on  Wednesday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said apart from the $16bn, Buhari should also cause the alleged squandering of a total of N11tn in the power sector between 1999 and 2015 to be investigated.

According to the group, the said N11tn was squandered under ex-Presidents Obasanjo, the late Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan under the guise that the money was being spent to provide regular supply of electricity in the country.

SERAP said Buhari should be determined to ensure that anyone found culpable in the alleged fraud was prosecuted after an investigation by the anti-graft agencies.

It said, “We welcome the focus by President Buhari on the massive allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the power sector and urge him to expand his searchlight beyond the Obasanjo government by ensuring accountability and full recovery of the over N11tn squandered by the three administrations.

“It is only by pursuing all the allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served. This is the only way to conclusively address the systemic corruption in the power sector and an entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators.

“Addressing impunity in the power sector should be total. This would help to improve the integrity of government and public confidence and trust in their government.

“It would also serve as a vehicle to further the public perception of fairness and thoroughness, and to avert any appearance of political considerations in the whole exercise.”

SERAP noted that lack of regular electricity supply in the country had occasioned many other problems, including lack of access to potable water.

It added, “The failure by successive governments to tell Nigerians the truth about allegations of corruption in the spending of not just the $16bn but also the over N11tn spent by three governments on electricity supply amounts to a failure to ensure that energy services/electricity services are progressively made available, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination, to the whole population, including those most disadvantaged, such as the fringe dwellers and the rural poor.”

The statement further read, “The total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector starting from the return to democracy in 1999 to date is over N11trn. This represents public funds, private equity and social investment (or divestments) in the power sector.

“It is estimated that this may reach over N20tn in the next decade, given the rate of government investment and funding in the power sector amidst dwindling fortune and recurrent revenue shortfalls.

“SERAP in 2016 sent a petition to the then acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Water Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen. Last year, SERAP published a report, ‘From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector.’ The report shows how the country has lost more megawatts in the post-privatisation era due to corruption, impunity, among other social challenges.

“The report accuses Dr. Ransom Owan-led board of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission of settling officials with millions of naira as severance packages and for embarrassing them with an alleged N3bn fraud.

“The authorities must undertake a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation as to the reasons why corruption charges were withdrawn, and recover any corrupt funds.

“The report also called for the reopening and effective prosecution of corruption allegations, including the alleged looting of the benefits of families of the deceased employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria levelled against a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali.

“The report shows how the Obasanjo administration spent $10bn on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended on the power sector in eight years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12bn. The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping N16bn for the various reforms under Liyel Imoke (2003 to 2007) which went down the drains as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity or meet the set goals.

It alleged that the government handed over the transmission company to a Canadian company, Manitoba, to manage and under a management service contract of over $200m.

It stated, “ Findings also show that the Transmission Company of Nigeria could not execute most of its approved 44 projects after having 50 percent of its N30bn 2016 budget released to it. Funds were released from Eurobond. $23.6m allegedly paid to Manitoba Hydro International  of Canada to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria would appear to be without due process.”  (Punch)

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THIRD FORCE: Nobody Can Intimidate Me, Says Obasanjo |The Republican News

 

olusegunobasanjo1

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

 

Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that nobody can intimidate him on the third force, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), that he has been promoting across the country in order to rescue the country from collapse.

He recalled how former Military Head of State, the late Gen Sani Abacha jailed him for an offence he did not commit, asking for the whereabouts of Abacha today.

Obasanjo disclosed this when he addressed thousands of CNM members during a town hall meeting held at the Trans Amusement Park, Bodija, Ibadan, yesterday.

National Coordinator of the movement, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and former governor of Osun State, said that verifiable members of CNM have scaled over three million, adding that the movement would participate in all the elections scheduled to hold this year in the country.

The  meeting was also attended by a former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja; former secretary to Oyo State Government, Chief Olayiwola Olakojo, who is the Oyo State Coordinator of CNM;  another ex-SSG in the state, Chief Ayodele Adigun; and one of Obasanjo’s close associates,  Oyewole Fasawe; as well as a legal luminary, Hammed Raji  (SAN), among others.

According to Obasanjo, “For me, I don’t think there is anyone that can intimidate me. Let me remind you, I have gone through many things. I have been jailed without committing any offence. Where is the person that jailed me?”

Obasanjo, who urged members of the movement, which he said would become a political party soon, not to give in to any form of intimidation from the powers that be either individually or collectively,

Though speaking in parables, he inferred that God that made it possible for a sitting president to be defeated in 2015, would also make it possible for another sitting president to be defeated again in 2019, saying it is time for the youths to take over.

His words: “Some people believe that those that are in position,  whether they are doing well or not, they must continue to be there. But when we say they must not be there, they will want to fight back. They will hold many things to wreak havoc, but everybody must be prepared. It will not be easy to wrest powers from them. If you think it will be easy to liberate Nigeria, you are deceiving yourself. “But the God that did it yesterday, will do it again today. We have seen this before. In this Nigeria, we have had a situation that we had five political parties and the five parties nominated one person as the candidate for the presidency. If only his nuclear family has voted for him, he would have won.

“Our God is wonderful. God laughed. Now, God is laughing. When the time came, God revealed that He’s God. He is the omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal, who can do all things and who can make all things possible. But if we are leaving things to God, we have to do our own side.

“I want to repeat what I have always said and don’t get me wrong; once this movement becomes a political party, I will no longer be a member of that party. But my concerns for Nigeria will not diminish. My struggle for the good of Nigeria is the progress of Nigeria,  unity of Nigeria,  development of Nigeria will not diminish.

“Even now, I get people from other parties, coming to me to seek advice. I don’t belong to them. I don’t have anything to do with them, but I give them advice. So, that situation will continue. I will continue to look for the good of Nigeria wherever I am and whenever.

“The CNM, even when it becomes a political party, or it joins others, it cannot do it alone. There would have to be a grand alliance… But let me assure you of one thing, having got this far, I will not leave you high and dry, and I know God will continue to be with us. But don’t ever think that it will be easy. Men of valour don’t run away from challenges and it is the same thing with women of honour, except lazy men and women. But they said our youths are lazy.

“Recently, I was in the United States and I said our youths have gone through many things on the Sahara, in Libya and Mediterranean,  and somebody would say they are lazy; their great, great grandfathers would never try to go that far.

“The opportunities and facilities that people like us enjoyed, including those that said it should not be like that, if we give these youths half of what we enjoyed,  they will perform miracles. Education is the best gift that a nation can give to its youths. It is the best gift and preparation for life. Are we doing enough of that?

“The work has started. Some people may be laughing at you and make the jest of you, don’t be bothered with that.  Listen, permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) are your instruments. If you have not collected yours, go and collect it. If you are not yet registered,  go and register. Let us tell them in all urban and rural areas that PVCs are what we will use. They are the keys to open the doors.”

Obasanjo explained that the CNM could “only achieve its objectives by transforming and being part of whatever it is as a political party. I just want to join in assuring you that the philosophy of what we have is CNM, and what it will transform to will not be different.

“We have not had a political party in this country that is grounded in the grassroots. All our political parties are elitist. We have not got a party in this country that has given a pride of place to the youths.

“The youths under 40 years old form more than 65 percent of our population. Now, who will tell you that because you are under 40, you cannot play a very significant role in the affairs of your country?

“I was Head of State when I was under 40. Now, France has elected a president that at under 40 years old. Botswana has just a vice president at 32 years old. Now, what we are saying is that the youths must be given a pride of place.”  (The Sun)

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Achaba’s Loot: We’ve Returned Money To Buhari, Says Swiss Envoy, FG Denies Return

Sani Abacha

Late Gen. Sani Abacha

We’ve returned money to Buhari govt -Swiss envoy

• We don’t have such information –FG

• I never asked Nigeria for extra pay –Foreign lawyer

Aidoghie Paulinus; Uche Usim, Abuja

Controversy has continued to trail the $321 million Abacha loot with the Switzerland government and the Federal Government sharply disagreeing over the whereabouts of the money.

While the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Chad, Niger and the Economic Community of West African States, Eric Mayoraz said his government has returned the money, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government has no information about the return of the said $321 million by the Government of Switzerland.

But the ambassador who spoke exclusively with Daily Sun in Abuja insisted the money has been deposited in the Nigerian account with the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland.

He directed Daily Sun reporter to find out from the Minister of Finance, Adeosun, where the money actually is.

“The money has been put on a bank account of Nigeria at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, but it belongs to Nigeria. And now, it is in the process of being put on the national bank account here in Nigeria.

“But you should ask the Minister of Finance where the money actually is because it is not anymore in Swiss hands, it is in Nigerian hands since the beginning of this year,” Mayoraz said.

The Bank for International Settlements, a global financial institution owned by central banks, fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and equally serves as a bank for central banks.

Mayoraz said in collaboration with the World Bank, the Swiss Government has put in place, a mechanism to ensure that there is no case of the disappearance of the funds like it happened in the past.

He said the money would be used for the National Social Safety Net Programme, a programme of the Presidency.

“So, this is cash transfer for the poorest Nigerians. The programme exists already and now again, I don’t know if this particular money was already used for this or if it is still waiting.

“But the programme is there, there is monitoring also from the World Bank, together with the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and the Presidency on its repatriation.

“Also, I think it is an important part to mention that the Nigerian civil society, Reverend Ugholo, and his association, are part of the monitoring of this money.

“I think this is a common interest from Switzerland, Nigerian government and the World Bank that the money goes to the people of Nigeria and avoid a situation that the money would disappear again,” Mayoraz added.

But Adeosun who spoke through her Special Adviser on Media, Oluyinka Akintunde, said she had no knowledge of the return of the money recovered from the late former military head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha.

“I don’t have any information with respect to the return of $321m Abacha loot by Switzerland,” she maintained.

When asked about other Nigerians who may have their funds trapped in Swiss banks, Mayoraz declined comment alluding to the confidentiality of the process.

Mayoraz, however, recalled the memorandum of understanding signed between the Nigerian Ministry of Justice and the Swiss Government on bilateral mutual legal assistance, saying that if such request emanates from the  Federal Government, the Swiss Government will follow up and will freeze the money.

Recall that during the inaugural Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) in Washington, United States, in December 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Government of Switzerland, Nigeria and the World Bank to repatriate the sum of $321 million said to have been stolen by former head of state, late General Sani Abacha.

The Federal Government had through the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reform and Open Government Partnership (OGP), Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, said the funds would be used for social protection programmes, and called on civil society organisations and the media to monitor the use.

Short of calling Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Swiss lawyer hired by the Federal Government since 1999 to work on recovering the late Abacha loot, Enrico Monfrini has denied asking for additional fees.

The denial came on the heels of a syndicated article in Nigerian media seeking to justify the duplication of Monfrini’s job by the AGF.

An online news portal, TheCable had reported the engagement of another set of Nigerian lawyers for a fee of $17 million (about N6 billion) for a job already completed by Monfrini.

TheCable had reported the engagement of the services of two Nigerian lawyers- Oladipo Okpeseyi, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and Temitope Adebayo- for a fee of $17 million (about N6 billion) for a job already completed by Monfrini.

But Monfrini denied the allegation that he demanded additional fees, hence the decision to hire new counsel to facilitate the recovery of the looted fund trapped in the Swiss account.

“I am not asking any additional fees from the Federal Republic of Nigeria in respect of funds which I have recovered on behalf of the latter during the last 20 years,” he said, adding that any allegations against him “would just be a lie.”

Working with then-attorney-general of Nigeria, Mohammed Adoke, Monfrini had traced about $321 million to Luxembourg.

The monies were recovered and kept in the custody of the attorney-general of Switzerland, awaiting final return to Nigeria.

Monfrini said he did not know why Nigeria decided to appoint other lawyers.

“Upon the election of President Buhari, the newly appointed minister of justice and attorney-general, Malami, appeared to prefer using the services of other lawyers in Nigeria and elsewhere,” he had claimed.

It was also reported that Nigeria would pay $17 million (over N6 billion) to the freshly engaged lawyers who would “help” with the repatriation of $321 million allegedly stolen by Abacha.

The  $17 million is nearly thrice more than what was already paid to Monfrini for the same job.

“This is a case of re-looting Abacha loot. A simple letter from the office of our attorney-general of the federation to the Swiss attorney-general requesting the repatriation of the funds to Nigeria consequent upon the signing of a MoU was all that was required to consummate the deal.

“From nowhere, Malami went and appointed another set of lawyers to do his job for him, and for few million dollars too,” a senior official of the ministry of justice said.      (The Sun)

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