Intimidation Can’t Stop Next Batch Of Alleged Looters’ List – FG

Intimidation Can’t Stop Next Batch Of Alleged Looters' List – FG
File photo: Mr Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government says it will not be intimidated by any person(s) or group(s) to stop revealing the names of those who allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.

Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this in Kwara State during a condolence visit to the state government over the recent bank robbery in Offa.

He told reporters in the state on Sunday that the government would release another batch of alleged looters’ list soon and was not bothered by any litigation threat whatsoever.

“We want to make it clear that no amount of intimidation from any side will prevent the government from releasing the next batch of looters’ list,” Mohammed stated.

“Honestly, what you have seen so far is the tip of the iceberg. When the next list comes out, you will see that many people that you did not suspect also partook in this national looting,” he added.

The minister, however, advised those mentioned on the previous lists and criticising the government to re-examine themselves, saying the government was very confident of the evidence it has before publishing the lists.

The previous lists of alleged looters published on March 30 and April 1 respectively had sparked criticism among Nigerians, as well as blame games between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In the first list, the PDP National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus, was alleged to have received the sum of N200million from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) on February 19, 2015.

Secondus, who has since denied the allegation, demanded a retraction of the list, a public apology, and the sum of N1.5billion as compensation.

He had also threatened to sue Mohammed if his demands were not met before a stipulated period of time.

Having failed to meet the demand, the PDP National Chairman made good his threat on Friday last week and filed a suit at the Port Harcourt High Court in Rivers State against the minister for defamation of character.

In his reaction, Mohammed maintained that he was not disturbed by the suit and that no amount of threat would prevent the government from releasing more names of alleged looters.

According to him, “Courts are for the accused and the accuser; for the rich and for the poor; for the government and for the people. So, anybody saying he’s going to court, I don’t think that should really frighten anybody.”

The minister further stressed the need to understand the context from which the alleged looters’ list was released.

He said it was primarily because Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was challenged by the PDP over the statement he made that a few days to handover in 2015, about N100billion was allegedly shared by members of the opposition party.

Alleged Looters List: Secondus Sues Lai Mohammed, Demands N1.5bn Damages

[BREAKING] Alleged Looters List: Secondus Sues Lai Mohammad, Demands N1.5bn Damages
Mr Uche Secondus and Mr Lai Mohammed

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus, has dragged the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, to court for defamation of character.

A media aide to the PDP National Chairman, Ike Abonyi, revealed this in a statement on Friday.

Mr Mohammed had mentioned Mr Secondus in the list of those who allegedly looted the nation’s treasury, alleging that the PDP National Chairman collected received N200million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA).

In his reaction, Secondus had through his lawyer, Mr Emeka Etiaba, denied collecting any money from the former NSA.

He had consequently asked the minister to immediately retract his name on the list and demanded a public apology and payment of N1.5b damages within 48 hours.

“We shall within 72 hours from today (March 31, 2018), proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our client’s right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you,” Secondus’ lawyer had told Mohammed in a letter on Saturday last week.

Having failed to meet the demand, the PDP National Chairman made good his threat today (Friday) and filed a suit at the Port Harcourt High Court in Rivers State.

In the suit no/PHC/1013/2018, he asked the court to award him the sum of N1.5b as damages for “humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.”

He also claimed that the list published by the minister was defamatory and urged the court to direct Mohammed to retract the said publication and apologise in writing.

Secondus wants the retraction and apology to be published in all social media platforms and other media organisations where it was earlier publicised and broadcasted.

He further asked the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing defamatory materials against him.

Joined in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney General of the Federation and a publishing firm.

However, the minister and other respondents have yet to respond to the suit.

Mr Mohammed had told reporters on Friday last week in Lagos that the decision to reveal the list was prompted by the PDP’s call to the government to publish the names of those that alleged looted Nigeria’s treasury.

Also on the list are former PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, and an erstwhile aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, among others.

Looters List: You Have No Case Against Us, PDP Tells FG

You Cannot Censor The Media, PDP Tells FG

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has maintained that despite the looters list released, the Federal Government has no case against them.

The party in a statement on Tuesday claimed the Federal Government only released the alleged looters list in order to divert attention from the faults of its administration. They also challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to name any members of the ‘rebranded PDP’ convicted for corruption.

“The Presidency and the APC have failed in their ploy to use their so-called looters lists to divert public discourse from the raging questions on their failures in governance.

“The Federal Government has no case against the PDP, as the lists only have individuals who are not indicted or convicted for corruption, some of who are not even members of the PDP. We still challenge the APC to name any members of the repositioned and rebranded PDP convicted for corruption.”

READ ALSO: Releasing Looters List Will Not Stop Corruption – Clarke

The party in the statement which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that the essence of the alleged looters lists was to cause public misconception, ‘change the topic’, and divert international and national discourse from various issues in the nation.

They listed the national discourse to include the state of the nation’s economy, the comments by international figures, including American business magnate, Bill Gates and an international organisation, Amnesty International.

PDP also said the Federal Government should not sweep under the carpet, the alleged vote of no confidence on the administration by eminent statesmen, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military President Ibrahim Babangida and former minister of defence and ex-chief of army staff, Geneneral Theophilus Danjuma, among others.

I Return The Label Of Looter Back To Sender – Fani-Kayode

 

Former Media Director for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, on Monday, reacted to the Federal Government’s list of alleged looters saying he returns the ‘label’ back to the sender.

Femi Fani-Kayode, in the list of alleged looters released by the Federal Government on Sunday, is alleged to have looted the sum of N866 million but in his reaction,  he said described this as a false claim.

“I wish to make it clear that this is nonsensical and utterly shameful, and I hereby reiterate the fact that I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing. I reject the false label of “looter” and I hereby return it to the sender.

“The Federal Government claims that I “looted” N800m from government coffers. This is false. I did not receive, and neither was I ever given one kobo by any government official, government agency or government parastatal during President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure,” he said.

READ ALSO: Babangida Denies Receiving N1.6bn From Jonathan’s Govt

Fani-Kayode, who is also a former Minister, explained that the money given to him was by Director of Finance of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Esther Nenadi Usman was solely for the conduct of presidential elections campaign.

“Mrs Usman, who was Minister of Finance during the Obasanjo’s government,  was neither a member of Jonathan’s government and neither did she manage, handle or touch any government funds in her capacity as Director of Finance of the Jonathan campaign.

“The money she made available to me came from a private company account which was used to house contributions made to the Jonathan campaign by party supporters after series of fundraising event.

“These were private funds and not public funds and neither can anyone expect us to have run an election in 2015 without any money. You do not run election campaigns with sand but with money,” Fani-Kayode explained.

The prominent lawyer alleged that the Buhari administration’s war against corruption is selective and politically-motivated witch hunt adding that the released list is a violation of Nigeria’s constitution.

“Not only is this a violation of the constitutional provision that says that an accused person is deemed innocent until they are proved guilty by a duly constituted court of law but it is also highly prejudicial to the criminal cases that they are or may be facing.

“This is a crude and sordid attempt to intimidate the judges and influence the outcome of the cases which are before them and also to compel them to give the judgement that the government wants,” he claimed.

Fani-Kayode said it is the trite law that only a court of law can declare a man guilty or declare him a thief or a looter and not Buhari and his government. He questioned if anyone can get a fair trial in a country when the government has already pronounced them guilty before the world?

Babangida Denies Receiving N1.6bn From Jonathan’s Govt

Former Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu

 

The immediate past governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida on Monday reacted to the Federal Government’s list of looters in which his name was mentioned saying he never collected N1.6billion from office of National Security Adviser (NSA).

Aliyu explained that the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration never deemed him fit to be entrusted with the said funds. He claimed that the inclusion of his name in the list is aimed at tarnishing his good image.

“Let me categorically state for the records that I never received such amount from the Jonathans administration. As leader of the G-7, I was not considered loyal enough to be entrusted with the fund, which was meant for campaign.

“I have never been mentioned in any ONSA disbursement since 2015. I have no case with the Federal Government over the alleged disbursement or any other. I have every reason to believe the looters list in which my name was included was drafted to tarnish my image,” he said.

READ ALSO: Alleged Looters’ List Is Politically Motivated, Afterthought – Fayose

Aliyu, in the statement which was signed by his Media Adviser, Israel Ebije, therefore called on the Federal Government to remove his name from the list of alleged looters.

He also urged the Federal Government to be balanced in naming and shaming alleged looters. He claimed that the list is politicised and craftily deployed to score cheap political points, adding that he await to see names of politicians working with the APC government who have benefited from the said loot.

SERAP Asks FG To Withdraw ‘Selective’ Looters List

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday called on the Federal Government to withdraw the ‘looters list’ which was released last week.

The group, in a statement signed by its Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, alleged that the Federal Government’s list is selective and therefore should immediately withdraw it and come up with a comprehensive list.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had on Friday released a list of some of those who have allegedly looted the nation’s treasury, a list which contains mostly PDP chieftains. SERAP said this list is political and can diminish President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption.

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“The Federal Government should immediately withdraw the clumsy, arbitrary and selective looters’ list, released last week. The list would seem to serve a political objective or carry out political agenda.

“This kind of action can only diminish the government’s ability to fight corruption, allow suspected perpetrators, whether from the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)to escape justice, and ultimately, deny victims of corruption justice and effective remedies. The authorities should withdraw the looters’ list and come up with a comprehensive list,” the statement read in part.

SERAP in the statement claims that allowing the published looters’ list to stand will undermine the credibility of the government’s corruption fight and signal to Nigerians that it is not serious to satisfactorily address the corruption allegations under the former President Goodluck Jonathan and involving those close to this government.

“This politicised list comes at a time when the government is promoting itself as a beacon of transparency and accountability, and a model for other African countries to follow. The authorities ought to have resisted the temptation to put out this shambolic list and instead obeyed the spirit and the letter of Justice Shagari judgment,” the statement read further.

SERAP said the Federal Government cannot pick and choose which judgments it wants to obey, even if the government would step on toes and make some politicians, whether in APC or PDP, uncomfortable.