National Assembly Complex, Abuja
The Nigerian House of Representatives has rejected a government plan to disburse ninety eight point two-one billion Naira ($322 million) stolen by former military leader, Sani Abacha.
The recovered funds were returned by the Swiss government and there is a plan to disburse the money to vulnerable people in the country.
The House also resolved to constitute an Adhoc Committee to trace all the Abacha funds sent back to the country from 1998 till date by the Swiss government and how it was utilized.
These followed a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance during plenary on Wednesday, on the urgent need to stop spending of the last tranche of the Abacha funds or any recovered money without parliamentary approval.
Presenting the motion, Mr. Karimi Sunday from Kogi State, frowned at the alleged decision that the Executive arm have agreed with the Swiss government to disburse the money to vulnerable individuals in 19 States of the Federation.
According to the lawmaker: “The National Assembly is authorized in the 1999 constitution to make decision with the Executive arm on how the Federation money should be utilized and not the Swiss government and the Executive arm to decide for Nigeria on how it should be used.
“Section 80 of the 1999 constitution stipulates that no money should be withdrawn from the Federation account without the knowledge and approval of the National Assembly.”
Mr. Hassan Saleh, a member from Benue State in his contribution said the money should rather be used to revive the Ajaokuta Steel which will generate millions of jobs for Nigerians.
“Though the alleged plan is good but what confidence do we have that the money will get to those vulnerable individuals?” Saleh stressed.
Mr. Nkem Abonta from Abia State and Mr. Nicholas Ossai from Delta State in their separate contributions noted that the use of such money to feed the poor goes contrary to the Parliament’s Appropriations Act.
“The National Assembly should wake up and come up with a program that will decide how the Abacha loot be spent,” Mr. Ossai said.