Asset Recovery and Management Watchdog, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has called on the United Kingdom and Nigerian Governments to review the recently signed annex to the 2016 MoU on £4.2million Chief James Onanefe Ibori assets for its return to Delta State, they also called on the United Kingdom and Federal Government to openly disclose how much was seized from the former Delta State Governor and how much was returned to Nigeria.
The Executive Director of ANEEJ and head of Transparency and Accountability in Management of Returned Assets, (MANTRA) project, Rev David Ugolor who briefed press men after a marathon hybrid meeting of the group in Benin City on Tuesday wondered why returned asset of people of Delta State is to be used to finance Federal infrastructural projects namely: The Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Road and the Lagos-Ibadan road as announced by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) at the MoU Annex signing ceremony in Abuja.
Rev’d Ugolo and CSOs said, “We are alarmed at the annex of an MoU signed between our Federal Government and the UK government on returned £4.2million former Delta State Governor’s assets. Their action is in obvious breach of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) principles as well as the Federal Government Gazette on Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management (2019).
They called on both governments to take a second look at the annex of the MoU signed today and deliver justice to the poor people of Delta State who should receive such returned asset and not the Federal Government as stated in the executed MoU.”
The anti-graft campaigners further noted that there was already a precedence in Plateau state of Nigeria, where looted assets of former Governor Joshua Dariye was returned to Plateau State for the victims of corruption in that state.
“Whereas the British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing disclosed at the MoU Annex signing ceremony that £ 4.2 million was returned, we demand to know the exact amount seized from Ibori and his associates in the UK and our government in the spirit of transparency and accountability should disclose to the public how much it received from the UK government,” The group demanded.
Ugolor, therefore called on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to immediately intervene and ensure a reversal of the controversial MoU to ensure that justice is served.