A former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, has supported the Federal Government’s decision to share the recovered Abacha loot as payouts to poor families, through the conditional cash transfers.
In an interview with Channels Television In Kaduna, Mr Aremu condemned the recent call by members of the House of Representatives to pay the repatriated monies into the consolidated revenue account rather than distribution to the federating units.
The labour leader believes it is wiser for the government to give the poorest Nigerians the recovered cash as a matter of right, rather than what he calls “undignified handouts”.
“I want to support the position of the Federal Government that this money should be distributed directly to the poorest Nigerians.
“It was cash looting, it has to be cash transferred back to the poor people.
“The money should not go to National Assembly because you know the budgeting process in this country – it is a bottomless pit in which few legislators with their MD executives share a lot of these resources between themselves and I think I want to support the social investment programme which is already in place, supported by the world bank,” he said.
The Federal Government had said that the recovered funds would be disbursed to 302 poor households in 19 states, starting from July as part of its Social Investment Programmes which aim to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
It also said the payment is expected to be done in installments, to avoid logistic obstacles.
The Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Juliet Nwagwu, had, however, said at a news conference in Abuja that the payments won’t be made in cash.
“Nobody is going to give anybody any cash; it is going to be through an electronic payment system which we want CSOs (civil society organisations) to verify,” she said.
Originally deposited in Luxembourg, the $322.5 million was confiscated by a Swiss court in late 2014 and in March 2017, the two states signed an agreement on its repatriation.