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We’re not fooled

Posted by By RAZAQ BAMIDELE, ADESINA AIYEKOTI and OLA AGBAJE on 2008/06/10 | Views: 1340 |

We’re not fooled


Notable Nigerians on Monday dismissed as cock and bull story the views by three former heads of state that the late General Sani Abacha never looted the nation’s treasury.

• AC, Afenifere, CD, others tackle Buhari, IBB, Abdulsalami over comments on Abacha

Notable Nigerians on Monday dismissed as cock and bull story the views by three former heads of state that the late General Sani Abacha never looted the nation’s treasury.

Former President Ibrahim Babangida had declared at the 10th remembrance anniversary of the death of Gen. Abacha in Kano at the weekend that it was not true that the deceased looted the treasury. General Muhammadu Buhari and Abdulsalami Abubakar spoke in the same vein, contending that Abacha served the country well.

In a swift reaction, however, on Monday, leading opposition party, Action Congress (AC), Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, Afenifere, Campaign for Democracy (CD), led others in vehemently disagreeing with the ex-heads of state, querying why they had to wait for 10 years before finding their voices to defend Abacha.

AC described as disgusting the comments credited to the former heads of state.
In a statement issued by the AC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered why the trio of Buhari, Babangida and Abdulsalami had to wait for 10 years before finding their voices to declare Abacha a saint.

The party also frowned at Gen. Abdulsalami’s call for a halt to the probe of past administrations, describing the call as "an act of self-preservation," noting that heeding the call would frustrate efforts to enthrone rule of law, due process and probity.
On the Abacha loot, AC said: "If the comments by the former heads of state were true, then Nigeria should return all the looted funds returned by foreign countries where they were squirreled to and apologise to the country as well as the Abacha family."

While expressing worry about the possible agenda of the past leaders, the party wondered why the ex-military dictators failed to advise ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on the matter.
Afenifere on its part expressed no surprise at the comments credited to the former leaders, saying, "we know where they are also coming from."
According to a statement by its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere said: "We are aware of the reports on $12.4 billion dollars Gulf war oil windfall during Babangida’s administration and Dr. Christopher Kolade probe panel’s report that said that Nigerians should thank God that Abdulsalami did not rule more than nine months.

"Both of them (Babangida and Abdulsalami) can tell it to the marines that Abacha did not loot. Their clearance for Abacha 10 years after his death is in line with a Yoruba adage that says: ‘Only a thief knows how to trace another thief’s footsteps on a rock.’
"If Abacha did not loot, then, Obasanjo should apologise to Abacha family, and Nigerians should consider the money purportedly recovered as product of Abacha’s hardwork, while one of his sons should be made the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)."

In its own reaction, CD through its President, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the statement confirmed the ex-leaders as accomplices in the crime of defrauding the nation over the years.
"We have our facts and figures. At the appropriate time, they would be made to account for how they squandered our collective destiny," CD said.
Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) on his part described the comments by the ex-heads of state as "very shocking and understandable."

Ngige said it was shocking because Abdulsalami claimed under his regime that he was fighting corruption, adding that it was his (Abdulsalami’s) regime, that first claimed to have recovered part of the money stolen by the late General Abacha.
"He cannot truly and honestly claim that they are not part of what Abacha did," Ngige further argued, stressing that Obasanjo did not probe Gen. Abdulsalami even though he knew that Abdulsalami helped himself with public funds.

Arguing further, the senior advocate submitted that General Buhari also refused to criticize Abacha because the late ruler made him the chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
"It is understandable because all of them cannot truly and honestly claim that they are not spart of what Abacha did," he added.

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