Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank on Thursday described the graveyard silence of the President, General Muhammadu Buhari-led regime’s silence over the $2.5billion stolen crude oil as evidence of complicity.
Documents recently unearthed showed how 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light Crude, valued at $2.5 billion was stolen and sold in China by some officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in connivance with top functionaries of the Buhari’s regime.
Frank who made the assertion in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja said that the failure of the presidency to condemn the heinous crime and act to bring the conspirators to book can only point to tacit support by the Federal Government.
He wondered why history seems to have repeated itself under General Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources in the last five years.
He recalled the missing “53 suitcases” saga in 1984 when Buhari was Military Head of State. Again, $2.8billion oil money disappeared in similar circumstances when Buhari was federal commissioner in charge of Petroleum under the Olusegun Obasanjo regime in 1978.
He added that now another $2.5billion has again been allegedly stolen under the watchful eyes of Buhari as President in a democratic setting, “making it seems as if he has a penchant for missing money whenever he is in charge.”
The activist lamented that his earlier call on General Buhari to sack, arrest and prosecute government officials responsible for the reprehensible act fell on deaf ears.
He insisted that the silence of Buhari and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, over the international embarrassment is a direct insult on Nigerians.
Frank vowed to mobilize both local and international mass protests against the federal government if it refuses to act, to ensure that “this crime against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, perpetuated by influential members of the present regime is not swept under the carpet as usual.”
Frank said: “It is almost a month since this international scandal against top officials of the present administration became public knowledge, yet, no action or reaction from the Federal Government as to seeking redress and sanction against perpetrators and their collaborators.”
He, however, called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), other labour unions and prominent Civil Society Organisations to speak up against what he described called looting of public treasury in the country.
“It is appalling to note that the Federal Government recently borrowed $3.4billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it appears to see nothing wrong with a few officials pocketing $2.5 billion stolen oil cash.
“Buhari, in his capacity as the ‘African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion’ cannot afford to keep quiet over this mind-boggling rape on the nation’s common patrimony, an organized criminal activity that has further ruined the reputation of the country in the comity of nations.
“Those who committed this daylight robbery must of necessity be brought to immediate justice so as to deter other criminally-minded appointees out to make the world believe that anywhere you turn under Buhari’s administration you see corruption.
“I dare say that Nigerians and future generations will not forgive Buhari and his cabal, if the humongous amount involved in this open plunder is allowed to go without lawful investigation, arrest, prosecution and appropriate punishment served on the perpetrators and their collaborators – including the full recovery of the amount now cooling in the pockets of few fraudulent officials.
“The Chinese Government cannot also afford to be silent on this continental malfeasance which appears to have been coordinated and consummated in their domain.
“They must also ensure that any of their official found to have fraudulently aided the theft and sale of the $2.5billion Nigerian crude oil is made to face the law.
“I hereby call on Nigerians, wherever they are domiciled on the face of the earth, not only to condemn this brazen criminality but to demand urgent action from their elected representatives at all levels.”
He urged them to organize mass demonstrations if the Federal Government neglects to act to recover the $2.5billion now fraudulently cornered by the officials entrusted with the exploitation and sale of the nation’s natural endowments – meant for the overall development and benefit of the masses of this country.
Buhari Seeks Senate Approval for Fresh N2.3trn External Loan
The President, Muhammadu Buhari , has asked the Senate to approve another N2.3trillion ($6.18bn) external loan.
This is contained in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and read at plenary on Tuesday.
Buhari said the proposed loan which is equivalent to N2.3trillion is to finance the 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion.
Buhari said the loan would enable the Federal Government to fund critical infrastructural projects in transportation, health, and education among others.
This is coming barely a month after the Senate approved the sum of $1.5bn and €995 million external borrowings for the Federal Government.
The loans were part of the $5.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings Buhari had, in May 2020, asked the Red Chamber to approve to finance various priority projects of the federal government and to support the state governments facing fiscal challenges.
Armed Thugs Disrupt NLC Protest in Kaduna, Wabba Accuses El-Rufai
The protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress on Tuesday turned violent as armed thugs attacked the workers, throwing stones at them.
The workers had converged at the popular NEPA roundabout in the Kaduna capital city to continue the day two of their protest when the thugs invaded the area and started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons at them.
The attack forced many of the protesters to scamper for safety.
It is not known who actually sent the thugs, but the NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba has pointed accusing fingers at the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
Speaking with newsmen amid the protest, Wabba said he informed the DSS after he received earlier information of the plan to disrupt the protest.
“Today is a very sad moment in the history of democracy in Nigeria. Early in the morning today, we got credible information that El-Rufai has hired one Alhaji Hassan and some thugs to come and attack us.
“While we are here, they came but thank God we have chased them away because we have the number. We are not thugs And We Are Not Using Thugs we are Nigerian workers,” Wabba told Channels Television.
The armed thugs were dispersed by security operatives with teargas.
Wabba is leading day two of the NLC protest despite being declared wanted by the Kaduna State government.
Nigeria Receives £4.2m Ibori Loot
Nigeria has received the £4.2million seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori from the United Kingdom.
This is according to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this on Tuesday via a statement issued by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
He confirmed that the “Federal Government of Nigeria has received GBP 4,214,017.66 of the loot associated with the family members of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.”
According to the statement, “the amount has been credited into the designated Federal Government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of 10th May 2021.”
Malami was said to have signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the Ibori loot on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Minister said the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public-oriented projects.
On May 3, Malami had announced that the United Kingdom would repatriate the looted fund to Nigeria any moment from now.
He had explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was working tirelessly to ensure the return of looted Nigerian assets kept outside the country’s territorial boundaries, adding that that the Federal Government of Nigeria was in touch with the UK government on the matter.
“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks.
“There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds,” he said.
He noted that the Federal Government is working assiduously to make sure that the transfer goes through successfully.
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