Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has replied the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the challenge to President Muhammdu Buhari’s administration to name looters under the party’s 16 years rule in the country.
In a press statement in Abuja, the minister named the current PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus as one of the looters. He accused Secondus of taking N200 million from the office of then National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) on February 19, 2015.
According to the minister, the current PDP Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Akpan Anani also took N600 million from the office of then NSA on October 24, 2014.
Culprits on trial – APC
The minister also accused, “The National Publicity Secretary Olisah Metuh, who is on trial for collecting N1.4b from the office of then NSA.
“Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications, is also on trial for taking N2.1 billion from the office of then NSA.
“Former SSA to President Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei – On trial over N830 million kept in accounts of four different companies.
“Former President Jonathan’s Cousin Robert Azibaola – On Thursday, a Federal High Court ruled that he has a case to answer for collecting $40 million from the office of then NSA,” the statement said.
However, the minister said that the above named looters were nothing, but a tip of the iceberg, adding that “we did not make these cases up. Many of these cases are in court and the records are available. Some of the people on this list are seeking to plea bargain, and that is a fact.
“We insist that Nigeria was looted blind under the watch of the PDP, and that the starting point in tendering an apology is for them to return the loot.
“It’s like a robber admitting to stealing your car and apologizing, but then saying he will keep the car anyway. It doesn’t work that way.
But in a swift reaction, PDP has challenged the minister to name convicted members, describing the list of alleged “looters” as hollow, laughable and as an extension of federal government’s media trial.
The party asked the minister to name the names of its members against whom the federal government had secured convictions.
According to PDP, “the list put forward by the federal government as purported looters amounts to a ‘cheap blackmail’ as none of those listed have been indicted or convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction or any panel of enquiry in our country.”
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, insisted that “the list issued by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, only goes to show that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency have no proof of corruption against the PDP.
The party noted that, “in its frenzy and desperation, the federal government even included names of individuals who are not standing trial or under investigation for any act of corruption, as well as those who are not even PDP members.
“The Buhari-led federal government has manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court and in which none of the persons have been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members. We are not in doubt that the individuals he has mentioned will take their legitimate stride and pursue appropriate action in the court,’’ the statement added.
…No spirt of forgiveness
According to PDP, it is unfortunate “that the APC and its government under whose watch horrendous sleazes are happening on daily basis and a government that has failed to fulfill the littlest of its campaign promises, can spend a wholesome three years searching for flimsy allegations to discredit our party and its members.’’
“This is a government that is yet to account for $26 billion (N9 trillion) stolen through corrupt oil contracts in the NNPC, N1.1 trillion worth of crude diverted to service APC interests, N18 billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) intervention fund stolen by APC officials, including their former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, the N10 billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for which members of the Buhari cabal were indicted as well as the Mainagate, where the APC government recalled and reinstated an individual indicted for scam running into billions of naira, ‘’ the statement pointed out.
PDP reiterated that “its on a rebound and such flimsy allegations by the APC and its horde of looters, who stole humongous wealth from their respective states of the federation to sponsor an incompetent candidate in 2015, cannot stop us from challenging the Federal Government to fulfill its campaign promises.’’
The party threatened that “since the APC has decided to draw this attack, we will no longer hold back but appropriately commence a serialization of all looters hiding in APC and the Presidency.
In a separate statement, Ologbondiyan stated that the APC and the Presidency have been transferring their vile spirit of vengeance to Nigerians, as manifested in their refusal to let go, even after the citizens have accepted PDP’s apology, which were made in the overall interest of national healing, renewal and reconciliation.
According to the statement, “the Presidency and the APC do not have the spirit of forgiveness. They believe that they must take revenge on everything. This is why they are going about hounding everybody perceived to hold opinions that are contrary to their interest.
“This explains why they have continued to keep people like the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) in detention, even after he has been granted bail by the courts. That is why they are after figures like Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu as well as politicians perceived to be interested in the 2019 Presidential elections.