My Role In Abacha’s Government Was For National Interest, Says Kingibe

 

Former running mate to late Moshood Abiola in the 1993 Presidential election, Babagana Kingibe has explained that his decision to take a role in the late military leader, General Sani Abachas regime, was for the national interest which he put above his personal feelings.

Kingibe made this known to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State, during a solidarity visit to Governor Babagana Umara on Sunday.

He said that his actions were in line with the teachings of the Muslim faith, which he professed that leadership comes from God which he accepted in good fate.

When we think of the collective good there are times when we have to sacrifice personal interest and join hands in rebuilding society and bringing peace and harmony to our people: I have addressed this issue of why did I join Abachas government and so on.

I know we won the elections on June 12, 1993, I know that injustice was done when those elections were annulled but there is always one guiding principle in my public life which is that the national interest supersedes any other consideration and all my actions have been informed by this consciousness of what is best in the national interest.

READ ALSO: EU Report Further Confirms That Presidential Election Was Rigged, Says PDP

The former minister who is from Borno state said he was particularly happy with the magnitude of celebration that took place in his home state to mark the new democracy day, which signifies love and solidarity towards him as a son of the soil and a key player in the events of that year.

I dont think the celebration on the actual 12th of June 1993 was any greater than the celebration of the first democracy day on June 12; And for that I have to thank the Governor who gave the leadership, thank the people of Borno not only for celebrating June 12 as democracy day per se, but I know that they also had in mind that one of their own, their own son was also a critical player, I appreciate the confidence and love.

SERAP Writes World Bank On Abacha Loot Alleged Mismanagement

AbachaThe Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has written an open letter to the World Bank’s President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, requesting him to use his “good office and leadership position to urgently address the public perception that the World Bank is seeking to distance itself from responsibility over alleged mismanagement in the spending of recovered Abacha loot.

Specifically, the organisation is asking Dr. Kim to “establish a special inspection panel on Nigeria to visit locations across the country to verify whether or not the projects reportedly executed by the Nigerian government with the funds were indeed executed.”

A statement signed by the SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, disclosed this.

The bank had told SERAP that it has no more information to provide on the status of the projects reportedly executed with the funds.

The response sent last week to SERAP, by the World Bank Access to Information Appeal Committee said: “In response to your request under case number AI4288 (related to your initial request case number AI3982, we wish to inform you that we have thoroughly searched our records and databases but have not been able to locate any additional information that is responsive to your request beyond what we have already shared with you. Therefore, we are unable to fulfill your request.”

In 2016, the World Bank had asked for more time to release details on the spending of recovered loot by Abacha. This followed the bank’s decision to refer “portion of appeal by SERAP to the Bank Archives Unit for processing for public access. The Bank’s request for more time followed the appeal SERAP lodged with the Bank on February 5, 2016 on the ground that the Bank’s decision on its initial request did not reveal “important portions of the information requested on how Abacha loot was spent.”

Outstanding Questions

The letter from SERAP, read in part: “Getting to the root of how Abacha loot was spent would demonstrate that the World Bank is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates, as well as remove any suspicion of the Bank’s complicity in the alleged mismanagement of the recovered public funds.

“There would be an acute risk that the Bank’s on-going and future role in supervising and monitoring of spending of recovered stolen public funds would be questioned and may be legally challenged for lacking transparency and accountability.

“SERAP believes that given its supervisory and monitoring roles in the spending of the recovered Abacha loot, the World Bank ought to do much more to clarify outstanding questions regarding the status of projects reportedly executed with the funds. It is vital that the Bank is able to show that it is up to the task whenever it takes up the responsibility of supervising and monitoring the spending of recovered funds in Nigeria and elsewhere across the world.

“SERAP also believes that the Bank ought to have classified the execution of the projects by the Nigerian government as high or substantial risk especially given the prevalent of corruption in the country, and exercised due diligence including by keeping proper records on the conditions of projects supervised and monitored by the Bank.

“Any failure to take decisive action to uncover what exactly happened to the projects reportedly executed by recovered Abacha loot which the Bank volunteered to supervise and monitor would shed a bad light on the World Bank, undermine its goal of alleviating poverty, and may mark the demise of transparency and accountability at the Bank.

“The proposed inspection panel on Nigeria should be able to ask appropriate questions from the authorities and engage with the communities affected by the alleged mismanagement of the recovered funds. This process would help to enhance compliance on the ground with the Bank’s safeguards and thereby bolstering the Bank’s accountability under its policies.

“The panel should also undertake a full investigation into whether there has been a serious failure by the Bank supervisors and monitors to observe its operational policies and procedures regarding the execution of projects with recovered Abacha loot; the role played by any government officials including in the Ministry of Finance, and the material adverse effects on communities across the country.

“Communities that have been affected by the apparent mismanagement of recovered Abacha loot should receive from the Bank proper and adequate compensation as well as community-based development benefits such as education, sanitation systems, health care, and community services (particularly for the elderly, mothers and children), access to clean water, access to livelihoods, and other locally determined remedial measures. SERAP considers this is a basic corrective justice, and it is the bare minimum required in the circumstances.”

Furthermore, the group expressed concern over the apparent lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of the recovered loot.

“SERAP also urges you to adopt and implement a Transparency Charter with respect to your ongoing and future supervisory and monitoring duties on the spending of recently recovered Abacha loot in order to ensure the integrity of the process of project execution. SERAP believes that the Bank’s goals of promoting transparency, accountability and the rule of law in countries would gain more credibility and respect if the Bank can lead by example particularly in its supervisory and monitoring role of spending of recovered stolen public funds.

“SERAP hopes that the World Bank would act as requested. However, take notice that should the Bank fail and/or neglect to take the steps recommended, the Registered Trustees of SERAP would pursue appropriate international and national legal actions to ensure transparency and accountability in this matter.”

SERAP therefore said that the proposed panel should find out the following:

– Why 2 rather 8 health centers were completed as disclosed by the report produced by the Bank. The location of the 2 completed projects should be disclosed. If it is true that 174 health centers were built with the Abacha loot and commissioned by the government and to disclose the locations of the centers;

– If payments were made to contractors who reportedly executed 10 of the 18 power projects pertained to physical electrical installations, and disclose the names of those contractors. If it is true that recovered Abacha funds were used to provide additional financing for the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program in the amount of NGN24.25 bn to support basic education throughout the country, and to disclose the number and location of schools which benefited from these funds at the time;

– If it is true that 13 road projects were completed including 3 of the largest road and bridge projects in each geo-political zone with the funds, and to disclose the locations of individual projects, including the largest roads and bridges completed.”

Supreme Court Gives Nod To Appeal Of Al-Mustapha’s Release

al-mustapha and supreme court The Supreme Court in Nigeria has given the Lagos State Government a go ahead to file an appeal against the judgement of the Appeal Court which released Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

In a ruling delivered by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onoghene, the apex court granted the request of the Lagos State Government following a motion argued on its behalf by Miss Oluwayemisi Osusanya, a Senior State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.

Justice Onoghene says the time within which to appeal against the verdict of July 12, 2013, had been extended for Lagos State government till Thursday.

He, however, conceded to the motion and ordered the Lagos State government to file a notice of appeal within the next 30 days.

Earlier, Counsel to Major Al-Mustapha, Mr Joseph Daudu, withdrew his counter affidavit objecting to the request by the Lagos government to appeal the matter.

He had objected on the grounds that the time within which to do so had elapsed.

Major Al-Mustapha was released by the court on July 12, 2013, after many years of standing trial for the alleged murder of Kudirat Abiola in 1996.

I Support June 12 As Democracy Day — Dino Melaye

Democracy Day, June 12A federal lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, has joined many other Nigerians in advocating the recognition of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

He was speaking on Channels Television’s political programme, Sunday Politics, as Nigerians marked the 23rd anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.

The poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola but was annulled by the then military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

Chief Abiola later died in custody on July 7, 1998 following his arrest and detention by the regime of General Sani Abacha, for attempting to actualise his mandate.

Senator Melaye said, “Without gainsaying, one will say that it is mandatory, pertinent and obligatory and it is a bitter necessity that as a government and as a people, we do recognise the historical significance of June 12.

“I am one of the advocates of declaring that day as our Democracy Day because it has a lot of historical and revolutionary value.

“I will support that that day be declared our Democracy Day and we should continue to herald that, we should continue to agitate that and I’m sure someday sometime, reason and logic will come to play.”

Struggle For Emancipation

He said that the reason why June 12 is not yet recognised nationally is because most politicians or people in government do not understand the significance of the day.

Melaye said that not every Nigeria politician is a democrat, “Only democrats will understand the significance of June 12.

“But when those who do not even believe in the tenets and doctrines of democracy find themselves in position of authority, they may not actually recognise the struggle that brought about the June 12 victory.”

Speaking further on the significance of June 12 if recognised as Democracy Day, Senator Melaye explained, “Every struggle has the impetus to propel people to the next level. Today most public holidays in the United States of America are significant and have positive concomitant effects with some revolutionary struggle.

“The June 12 struggle for me was a struggle for emancipation, freedom and departure from the old order and giving it that historical resonance by recognising that date will have a resultant effect on Nigeria’s political evolution now and in the future.”

June 12: South West States Celebrate Historic Election

June 12Nigerians today mark the 23 years anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.

The poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola.

While the significance of the date is acknowledged across the country, it is mainly states in the south west that actually recognise and mark it with some activities.

Ogun 

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital South West Nigeria and the hometown of the late Moshood Abiola, the occasion was marked with a walk organized by the state government and a special prayer session at the family house of the late business mogul.

From the take-off point of the walk at the June 12 Cultural Centre, through major streets of the state, the state deputy governor led other members of the State Executive Council on the walk which lasted for about two hours and terminated at the family house of the late MKO Abiola.

June-12-walk-abeokuta
Ogun State government leads a walk round the city of Abeokuta, the state capital.

Addressing family members, Islamic clerics and members of the State Executive Council and other dignitaries, the Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, commended the doggedness of the late MKO Abiola saying that his resilience has brought about the current democratic experience in the country

Representing Governor Ibikunle Amosun, she reiterated the commitment of the state government towards sustaining events that would continue to bring the day into the sub consciousness of residents.

June-12-special-prayer
Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga with members of the Abiola family during a special prayer session at the family house of the late business mogul

Speaking to journalists after the prayer session, one of the family members and younger brother of the late politician, Muritala Abiola, said that life has not been easy since the death of their bread winner.

The family would also want the federal government to declare the late Abiola posthumously as the winner of that election.

Osun 

In Osun State, civil society groups held a rally in Osogbo the state capital to promote their view that June 12 should be regarded as Democracy Day instead of May 29.

The group comprising civil society organisations, students and market women walked from Ayetoro area to Freedom Park and later moved on to Olaiya junction singing and chanting songs of democracy.

June 12
Activists in Osun State say June 12 is the real Democracy Day for Nigeria

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the rally, some of the human rights activists, Waheed Saka and Rasheed Ropo argued that the June 12, 1993 presidential election gave birth to democracy in Nigeria.

They noted that it remains the freest, fairest and most credible election in the history of the country.

They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the “farewell to poverty” manifesto of the late MKO Abiola.

They called for a posthumous declaration of Abiola as a President of Nigeria while urging the federal government to tackle the various challenges facing the country headlong.

Oyo 

Workers in Oyo State would be observing a work-free day on Monday as the Oyo State Governor, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, has declared Monday, June 13, as public holiday in commemoration of the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.

A statement by the Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to the Governor, Mr Yomi Layinka, conveyed the Governor’s decision, on Sunday.

“June 12 remains a watershed in the history of the country, because of the significance of the day in the nation’s democratic journey, having broken all ethnic and religious barriers.

“The annulled election is yet to be matched in terms of freeness, fairness, transparency, openness and widespread acceptability,” the Governor said.

He urged the Federal Government to “immortalize and officially recognize Abiola as a former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to confer on him the highest honour in the land befitting of a former president”.

Lagos

The Office of Civic Engagements in the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State marked the 23rd anniversary of June 12 with the theme, ‘Democracy And Inclusiveness; A Basis For Good Governance’.

Ayo-Opadokun-June-12-event
Former NADECO leader, Chief Ayo Opadokun , speaks at an event to mark June 12 in Lagos

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, called for true federalism and national unity regardless of religion and ethnicity.

Also speaking at the occasion, legal practitioner and former NADECO leader, Chief Ayo Opadokun said that June 12 would continue to remain relevant in the nation’s democratic history.

He also called on federal and state authorities to show more respect for the rule of law.

Life’s Been Difficult Since MKO Abiola Died – Brother

MKO AbiolaYounger brother of the late MKO Abiola, Muritala Abiola, says life has not been easy for the family since the death of their bread winner.

Mr Abiola spoke to journalists after a prayer session which held at the family house of the late business mogul in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, South West Nigeria.

The event was to mark the 23rd anniversary of the June 12 presidential election, widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.

The poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola but was annulled by the then military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

Chief Abiola later died in custody on July 7, 1998 following his arrest and detention by the regime of General Sani Abacha, for attempting to actualise his mandate.

“We feel the impact of his death because he was the breadwinner of the family – everyone of us, up to the aged people.

“But since he has died now, everything has been going down,” he said.

The family would also want the federal government to declare the late Abiola posthumously as the winner of that election.

The prayer session was preceded by a walk organized by the state government.

From its take-off point at the June 12 Cultural Centre, through major streets of the state, the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, led other members of the State Executive Council on the walk which lasted for about two hours and terminated at the family house of the late MKO Abiola.

Addressing family members, Islamic clerics and members of the State Executive Council and other dignitaries, Mrs Onanuga commended the doggedness of the late MKO Abiola, saying that his resilience has brought about the current democratic experience in the country

Speaking on behalf of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, she reiterated the commitment of the state government towards sustaining events that would continue to keep the day in the minds of Ogun residents.

 

June 12 Anniversary: Osun Declares Monday Work-Free

June 12Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has declared Monday, June 13 as work free-day in commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

This is according to a statement signed by the Director of Media, Publicity and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon.

Governor Aregbesola affirmed that June 12 most symbolises democracy because it was the date of the unequivocal affirmation of the unity of the country by Nigerians across all divides.

Meanwhile, civil society groups held a rally in Osogbo, the state capital to promote their view that June 12 should be regarded as Democracy Day instead of May 29.

The group, comprising civil society organisations, students and market women walked from Ayetoro area to Freedom Park and later moved on to Olaiya junction singing and chanting songs of democracy.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the rally, some of the human rights activists, Waheed Saka and Rasheed Ropo argued that the June 12, 1993 presidential election gave birth to democracy in Nigeria.

They noted that it remains the freest, fairest and most credible election in the history of the country.

Asides calling for a posthumous declaration of Abiola as a President of Nigeria, they also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the “farewell to poverty” manifesto of the late MKO Abiola.

They urged the federal government to tackle the various challenges facing the country headlong.

Sunday marked the 23rd anniversary of the day that has come to be recognised as a defining moment in the history of Nigeria’s democracy and the struggle to break the grip of military rule.

Popularly known as June 12, it commemorates the day in 1993, when the then military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the country’s presidential election.

Widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history, the poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola.

No reason was given for the annulment of the election, but it triggered a series of upheavals and protests across the country that eventually forced General Babangida out of office.

Chief Abiola later died in custody on July 7, 1998 following his arrest and detention by the regime of General Sani Abacha, for attempting to actualise his mandate.

23 Years After, Activists Say June 12 Is Real Democracy Day

AbiolaToday marks the 23rd anniversary of the day that has come to be recognised as a defining moment in the history of Nigeria’s democracy and the struggle to break the grip of military rule.

Popularly known as June 12, it commemorates the day in 1993, when the then military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the country’s presidential election.

Widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history, the poll is believed to have been won by business mogul and philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola.

No reason was given for the annulment of the election, but it triggered a series of upheavals and protests across the country that eventually forced General Babangida out of office.

Chief Abiola later died in custody on July 7, 1998 following his arrest and detention by the regime of General Sani Abacha, for attempting to actualise his mandate.

While the significance of the date is acknowledged across the country, it is mainly states in the south west that actually recognise and mark it with some activities.

Basis For Good Governance

The Office of Civic Engagements in the office of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State marked the 23rd anniversary of June 12 with the theme, ‘Democracy And Inclusiveness; A Basis For Good Governance’.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, called for true federalism and national unity regardless of religion and ethnicity.

Also speaking at the occasion, legal practitioner and former NADECO leader, Chief Ayo Opadokun said that June 12 would continue to remain relevant in the nation’s democratic history.

He also called on federal and state authorities to show more respect for the rule of law.

Real Democracy Day

In Osun State, civil society groups held a rally in Osogbo the state capital to promote their view that June 12 should be regarded as Democracy Day instead of May 29.

The group comprising civil society organisations, students and market women walked from Ayetoro area to Freedom Park and later moved on to Olaiya junction singing and chanting songs of democracy.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the rally, some of the human rights activists, Waheed Saka and Rasheed Ropo argued that the June 12, 1993 presidential election gave birth to democracy in Nigeria.

They noted that it remains the freest, fairest and most credible election in the history of the country.

They also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the “farewell to poverty” manifesto of the late MKO Abiola.

Former Ogun Governor, Olusegun Osoba Returns To APC

Olusegun OsobaFormer Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, has returned to his former political fold where he left years ago from the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Top leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday met to receive Osoba back into their fold at his residence in Lagos State.

The party leaders present were former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Ogun State, Bisi Akande, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Oluranti Adebule, who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Mr Osoba left the defunct ACN after a party infighting which took him and his supporters to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2015 general elections.

He is seen as one of the SDP founders.

Mr Osoba was elected on two different occasions as Governor of Ogun State; first from January 1992 until November 1993 on the platform of the SDP.

He and others were removed from office by the administration of General Sani Abacha on 17 November 1993.

After the return to democracy in 1999, he was elected again as Governor of Ogun State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), holding office between May 1999 and May 2003.

Switzerland To Return $300mln Abacha Loot To Nigeria

AbachaThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has assured Nigerians that negotiations are ongoing with a number of countries on the modalities for the repatriation of some looted funds stashed abroad.

The Minister said that the Federal Government has been in touch with Switzerland, which he said had earlier repatriated $700million from the late General Sani Abacha loot to Nigeria.

He noted that another $300million that was recovered would soon be repatriated to Nigeria.

Mr Onyeama added that the Federal Government is in discussion with the United Kingdom, the United States, among other foreign governments around the world, on how all looted funds could be recovered.

Ebonyi State PDP Claims Neutrality On Impeachment

EbonyiMembers of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Ebonyi State, who are not members of the State Legislature, have said that they are neutral on the impeachment moves by the State House of Assembly against Governor Martin Elechi.

The PDP members,  however, urged the State House of Assembly to employ due process and the rule of law in the discharge of their avowed responsibility.

Reacting on the development, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, a PDP major stakeholder in Ebonyi State, said that it is the constitutional duty of the House of Assembly to investigate allegations of acts of misconduct levelled against the Governor, as their duty aside making laws also incorporate checking the executive arm of the government.

While absolving the PDP of any involvement in the matter, he rebuffed the assertion that the Governor was still a member of the PDP, insisting that he had shifted his loyalty to the Labour Party.

On Tuesday, February 24, accusing fingers had been pointing in all directions on the impeachment moves by the members of the State House of Assembly against the Governor, Martin Elechi, in which he was accused of acts of gross misconduct which are in clear violations of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

While the impeachment matter is still subsisting, hundreds of protesters had trooped out into the major streets of the state to register their dissatisfaction over the impeachment process.

The PDP referred to the protesters as the members of the Labour Party whom the Governor is presently paying allegiance to.

Underneath the seeming calmness in Ebonyi State is a political time bomb at its elastic limit of blowing, with a clear example of the tension being the State House of Assembly Complex that has been burnt down.

The members also said that the spate of violence in the state was growing and they accused the opposition Labour Party of being responsible for it, including the House of Assembly that was torched.

However, hopes are still high that the election would hold in the13 Local Council Areas, the six Federal Constituencies and the three senatorial zones against all odds.

Ebonyi State came into being on October 1, 1996, and it is one of the six states created at that time from parts of Enugu and by the military government of General Sani Abacha.

FG Drops N446.3 Billion Charges Against Abacha’s Son

Sani AbachaThe Federal Government has withdrawn the corruption charges filed against Mr Mohammed Abacha, son of former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

The government announced its decision to withdraw the charge during proceedings before Justice Mamman Kolo of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.

The Federal Government had through a private lawyer, Daniel Enwelum, filed the charge of nine counts against Mohammed, accusing him of “dishonestly receiving stolen property” and “voluntarily assisted in concealing money,” belonging to the state and estimated at 446.3 billion Naira.

Defence lawyer, Abdullahi Haruna did not object to the decision by the state to withdraw the charge.

Ruling on the application for withdrawal, Justice Kolo granted the application and struck out the charge and discharged the accused person.

The Federal Government had accused Mohammed of receiving stolen property worth 446.3 billion Naira. The money is believed to have been stolen by the late General Sani Abacha when he was the Head of State from 1993 to 1998.