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Abacha Loot: You lied, Kokori tells Maryam

Posted by By AUGUSTINE AVWODE & Willy Eya on 2008/06/09 | Views: 1660 |

Abacha Loot: You lied, Kokori tells Maryam


Veteran labour leader, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori has tongue lashed the widow of late former military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, over comments credited to her that her husband did not loot the nationís treasury. Mrs Maryam Abacha was widely reported to have said that her husband never stole or looted the treasury.

Veteran labour leader, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori has tongue lashed the widow of late former military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, over comments credited to her that her husband did not loot the nationís treasury. Mrs Maryam Abacha was widely reported to have said that her husband never stole or looted the treasury.

But Kokori, the former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), declared that she was being economical with the truth and that she could tell that to the marines adding that if it was designed to launder the image of the maximum ruler, who died 10 years ago today, she did not make a good job of it.

"She knows that she is lying. Do you expect her to say he (Abacha) was a thief? She couldnít have said that, but obviously Abacha was a looter. What other evidence does anybody need? The Swiss government in May told the whole world here in Nigeria, and it was widely published, that it returned monies totaling almost $500 million in four installments between 2005 and 2006. She is definitely lying and she knows that. Why? The question of whether her husband looted the treasury is very clear because the money he stole was found", Kokori stated.

Maryamís defence of her husband came on the heels of a declaration by the government of Switzerland that it has refunded all monies stolen by Abacha. Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, the nationís capital recently, the Embassy of Switzerland Charge díAffairs, Mr Fabio Bairdi, said the clarification became necessary to disabuse the minds of Nigerians.

Also speaking to Sunday Sun on the same issue, President, Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the comments by Maryam Abacha was a reminder of the dark days of Nigerian history. She added that one did not expect any contrary view from her as she was there when the looting was going on and did nothing to discourage her husband.

"She is talking as if Nigerians are fools and liars. Really, one would have been surprised if she had expressed a different view", she added. Odumakin said contrary to tradition all over the world, the death of Abacha was celebrated simultaneously across the nation. According to her, that action shows that were Abacha to be alive, she would have been made to pay for his sins.

However, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, who served under Abacha, disagreed slightly with the views of Kokori and Okei-Odumakin. While refraining from addressing the question directly, he said, Maryam remains a very credible woman who should know what her husband did or did not do.

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