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How well has FG managed controversy over N13bn discovery?

 
Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Punch Newspaper
 
 
 
The Federal Government has not been able to manage the controversy generated by the discovery of huge sums of money in the Ikoyi flat at all. For once, we notice that the Federal Ministry of Information has gone to sleep, not to talk about the EFCC itself. There are so many questions begging for answers. And some of these questions range from who is the owner of the particular flat, and how the money got there?

READ ALSO: EFCC recovers N449m in abandoned Lagos shop
The Federal Government allowed the controversy to fester. More so, claims by the NIA, to an average Nigerian, appears like a poor attempt to cover up a crime. If the money was from the Central Bank of Nigeria, when and how did it leave the bank’s vaults? These are all questions that are begging for answers. Therefore, the continued silence of the Federal Government gives credence to the cover-up theory to protect the ‘saints’ in the corridors of power in this present dispensation.

Even those in the corridors of power are not helping the matter. Rather than standing up to clear their names, they are relying on threats of using the judiciary to settle scores. It will interest the public to get answers to these questions from a responsible government. The recent purported recovery of the cash in the Ikoyi flat calls to question a similar purported recovery of huge sums of cash at the Kaduna Airport. This is a public airport with security personnel and security cameras mounted everywhere. How did the money get there? Who dumped the money and who discovered the money? To some of us, these things are camouflage to boost the image of Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC boss, to give an impression that he is working.

Miliki Abdul (Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution)
It has been a disappointment. A disappointment in the sense that a Federal Government agency discovered money and another Federal Government agency claimed ownership of the money. Now, what is the role of the Presidency in this matter? How can an agency keep such a large amount of money in cash when the Federal Government is pursuing a cashless policy? What was the rationale behind the National Intelligence Agency keeping the money in a house instead of a bank? Why do you keep such huge amount of money somewhere without informing the Presidency?

The NIA can always inform the Presidency that it is carrying out an operation and for that reason, this amount of money is needed to deal with emergencies. The Presidency and whoever that is in charge must act. The EFCC is doing its job and we should encourage the commission for doing a good job for Nigeria and Nigerians. I am disappointed with the way and manner the Federal Government has handled the whole issue.

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For those who have accused former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, of being the owner of the money, why are they just coming out? It is unacceptable and a failure on their part. What is the rationale behind two governors from the opposition party coming out to accuse Amaechi? Where did they get their information from? Where are their facts? Since the 2015 general elections were conducted and the River State Government did not raise any alarm about such an amount of money missing from coffers of the state, why is he now coming to make such a claim?

I am not comfortable with the controversy that the money has generated. We are campaigning that Magu should be encouraged to remain in EFCC because he has been fighting monumental corruption in Nigeria. You can imagine why we do not have foreign exchange when someone is keeping such a huge amount of money in a house. I believe in the next one year, we are going to see those who love the country and those who are deceiving themselves, thinking they are deceiving the masses.

The Federal Government has failed woefully in managing this whole affair. Let the investigations expose the real owner or owners of the money. It is obvious that the money has been there for quite a long time; it could be money left over from the elections. Some of the questions that need answers are what role did the Central Bank of Nigeria play? How many people have withdrawn such huge amounts of foreign currencies in the last three years?

Dr Junaid Mohammed (Politician/Public affairs analyst)
First and foremost, Buhari as the President has never handled anything well. What he is doing now is too late. If he is doing it to give new impulse to the so called anti-corruption war, it is a little too late. If he is doing this to reestablish his credibility as a leader again, it is a little too late. The issues of corruption involving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and others around Mr. President are not issues that have just come to light; they have been there since the beginning of this administration, but have been suppressed. But now, two years into this administration we are being told something is being done.

As far as I am concerned, it is certainly better than nothing. But you can see clearly from the way the announcement was made; it was done out of pressure, out of a sense of appeasement for public opinion. We must take this thing further to include others around the President.  All those who have corruption cases hanging around their necks must be exposed and disposed of; otherwise, this whole anti-corruption thing is a joke and aimed at diverting public attention from the more serious issue of Mr. President’s health.

 I believe this government must be more forthcoming with information to Nigerians. We cannot afford a repeat of a situation where unelected people will cage the President whom we elected and begin to exercise his powers.

Abdullahi Jalo (Former PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary)
It is clear to all that this matter could have been better handled. Houses don’t fall from the sky and the amount of money we were told was found inside the house did not walk from the mint or the bank vaults into the house.

Nigerians deserve to know how this happened I am told they are investigating; we hope the truth will be unraveled for the world to see because so many people are claiming that the money belongs to them. Nigerians deserve to know the truth.

Dr Philip Ugbodagha (Former Edo State Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association)
The Federal government has displayed unforgivable tardiness in the handling of the controversy generated by the recovered loot. The entire scenario looks like a poor circus show designed to hoodwink Nigerians, who are at the receiving end of the mindless rape of our common patrimony. It is absolute nonsense to imagine that the raided apartment has no owner; and the recovered money has no owned. We are all left in a quandary by an agency of government to believe in this entire regrettable debacle.

The suspension of the head of the National Intelligence Agency, though late, is perfectly in order. We certainly cannot continue this way, otherwise, we will not improve on any development index and that will be a sad betrayal of the sweat and efforts of our nationalists who struggled to free Nigeria from imperialist domination so we can enjoy our God-given resources.

The suspension (of the NIA DG) is not also enough. He should be arrested immediately; thoroughly investigated and possibly, prosecuted for the embarrassment he has caused Nigeria. His claim that the NIA owns the money in question is baseless. He shamelessly became meddlesome in a matter being handled by a sister agency (EFCC) and his conduct was very well calculated to jeopardise investigations.

This suspension should also serve as a lesson to every appointee of government that it would no longer be business as usual and no matter how highly placed you are, when you break the law, the long arm of the law will not only catch up with you, but will also overtake you.
 
 
 
 
 
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