The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday called for the prosecution of the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others found to be involved in the mismanagement of funds meant for the purchase of arms for the military under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The governor spoke at a National Dialogue organised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the National Human Rights Commission and the International Human Rights Day.
President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), at the occasion which was co-organised by the NHRC and the Nigerian Bar Association.
The event was chaired by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Kyari-Gadzama,who doubled as the representative of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.
Oshiomhole faulted the claim by Okonjo-Iweala that she released part of the funds recovered from the loot of the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, to the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The governor argued that the Federal Government’s effort to recover stolen funds under the Jonathan administration would not be complete without Okonjo-Iweala’s prosecution.
He accused Okonjo-Iweala of supervising and coordinating the mismanagement of the nation’s economy.
He said, “All I am just saying is that we are in a constitutional democracy. We are not under an informal arrangement. And when you listen to all the narratives, all the disclosure and defence, you will realise that the Federal Government needs to prosecute everybody, not to exempt anyone.
“For example, I have read in the newspapers and online, the former Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy saying that she transferred part of the money recovered from Abacha to Dasuki for security purposes.
“Now, the first question the media should ask is, even under conditions of war, should money not be appropriated? And the National Assembly, I recall very well, when Aminu Tambuwal was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, they reconvened on Sunday in order to attend to an urgent matter submitted by the President. So, the Constitution is very clear.
“Money was looted and foreign countries helped us to recover that money and a minister assisted in ensuring that that money was re-looted again. And she is there in Washington and you are here languishing.
“I am saying that she also must be brought to justice. They say it is Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Now, you are dealing with the forty thieves and Ali Baba is left alone. The Ali Baba, in this case, Okonjo-Iweala, who supervised, who coordinated the economy, who signed for the release of this money in clear breach of the Constitution, must be tried.
“They must all be investigated. I don’t like the word probe. What are you probing? The facts have been acknowledged. She has admitted that she transferred money. This same Okonjo-Iweala, few months back, had said in the media that Abacha loot was used for development.
“That was what she said then, only for her to turn around yesterday to say no, it was used for security. But whether for development or for security, was Abacha loot covered in the appropriation?”
Speaking at the event, President Buhari, who was represented by Malami, raised the hope of persons displaced by the insurgent activities in the North-East, saying the process of returning them to their original homes would soon be completed.
While reiterating the commitment of his administration to respect human rights at all times, the President said that the counter-terrorism war against Boko Haram would carefully right abuses.
The President called on the United Nations to continue to provide “a platform for the common resolution of problems which today cause so much misery around the world and deny millions of people their basic rights to life and meaningful existence.”