U.S. links Buhari’s associates with stolen $150b

•FG tightens noose on persons involved President Muhammadu Buhari is in a dilemma over what to do with key members of his defunct campaign c...

•FG tightens noose on persons involved

President Muhammadu Buhari is in a dilemma over what to do with key members of his defunct campaign council who are allegedly neck deep in the stolen $150 billion stashed in foreign bank accounts.

Buhari has enlisted the United States to help recover funds stolen during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The fact that I now seek [U.S. President Barack] Obama’s assistance in locating and returning $150 billion in funds stolen in the past decade and held in foreign bank accounts on behalf of former corrupt officials is testament to how badly Nigeria has been run.

“This way of conducting our affairs cannot continue,” Buhari said in an article he published in Washington Post on July 20.

Who stole what?

Investigation showed that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Federal Reserves Bank (equivalent of Central Bank of Nigeria), have put faces to the staggering sums lodged in safe offshore accounts.

But against the hunch in the Buhari camp that only Jonathan’s henchmen were involved in the loot, the FBI and other America spy agents listed names of close associates of Buhari, some of who funded his election.

Buhari has also disclosed that the U.S., which is helping with the investigation, has traced various accounts where loots are lodged.

He made the disclosure in Abuja when he hosted American lawmakers who visited Nigeria last week. But he did not name the account holders.

It’s PDP, Oshiomhole says Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has claimed that members of Buhari’s delegation to the U.S., which he was part of, were told that a minister under Jonathan stole $6 billion.

His words: “The PDP destroyed the country. I mean from the lips of American officials; senior officials of the State Department said one minister under PDP cornered as much as $6 billion.

“The man said even by Washington standard that is earth-quaking.

“So, the PDP is a party that presided over the liquidation of our nation, destroyed all our institutions, converted the Armed Forces commanders to use them as if they were political thugs, converted NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) to a party megaphone, destroyed the SSS (State Security Services), went after the opposition as if we were rabbits to be pursued into our holes, compromised even student unions and destroyed everything that you can think of and elevated religion to a state affair.

“Under the party, Israel became a place you visit every week; they placed pastors against mallams, placed North against South, East against West just to retain power; elevated obas and obis with dollars.

“You guys were reporting dollars that were changing hands; when the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) was spending much more money than is available to the Federation Account.

“We are a very patient people. If we were not a patient people, anybody wearing the tag of PDP ought to feel very unsafe because you are all victims – all of us here.”

PDP, APC involved in the looting

But disclosure from the U.S. showed that the looting involved many APC governors, past and present, and the majority of them are from the North.

“The information available to Buhari highlighted persons who were involved and what they owned across parties. A substantial number of the looters are governors from the North.

“Buhari is in a dilemma on what to do with them because he profited from their money during his election,” a source told TheNiche.

Washington is mounting pressure on Buhari not to spare anyone involved in the loot from prosecution once the government assembles all the evidence.

It said that would be a way for the two countries to strengthen diplomatic ties. “President Barack Obama has long seen Nigeria as arguably the most important strategic country in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The question is, would there be an opportunity to deepen our engagement and that opportunity is now,’’ U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, told reporters during Buhari’s visit to the U.S. last month.

Abuja tightens noose on suspects

As a first measure, Aso Rock has directed security agencies to keep an eye on all former governors and former ministers who served under Jonathan and many of his aides.

However, Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, told TheNiche that he is not aware of such a directive.

Sources in the security network confirmed that foreign travel by former governors, especially those of the PDP, have been restricted.

It was also learnt that certain embassies have been notified about the former governors and ministers who want to leave the country, using their diplomatic passports that have a life span of five years.

However, an immigration chief told this newspaper on Friday, August 17 that there is not much the Immigration Service can do to stop the former governors and ministers from escaping, going by the porous state of the country’s borders.

“They can always escape through Cotonou and Dubai,” he said.

Many former governors are in the country, and some of them are being interrogated or prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, was in transit when TheNiche tried to get his reaction to the story. We could not get his comment due to poor telecommunication service.

Ishaya Ibrahim


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