Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said the plan by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to share the $350million loot recovered from former military ruler, the late Gen. Sani Abacha among the estimated 300,000 households in Nigeria, with each getting around $14, about N5,000 per month is “mis-targeted and would not bring any tangible benefits to the beneficiaries.”
“The authorities have a legal obligation under the UN Convention against corruption to which Nigeria is a state party to make sure that the returned Abacha loot is properly and efficiently used, both from the viewpoint of using asset recovery as a tool of ensuring justice to victims of corruption and breaking the cycle of grand corruption. But the plan to share the loot among households is mere tokenism and would neither have significant impact on poverty alleviation nor satisfy the twin objectives of justice and development,” SERAP said.
The federal government had announced last week that it would start from July to distribute the returned loot.
But SERAP, in a statement yesterday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale said, “Rather than spending the loot to fund the National Social Safety Net ProgramME (NAASP), President Buhari should, within the framework of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), create a central recovery account/trust funds, with oversight mechanisms to ensure repatriated funds are transparently and accountably spent to invest in tangible projects that would improve access of those living in poverty to essential public services such as water, education and health”.
“Distributing N5,000 to household would neither improve the socio-economic conditions of beneficiaries nor achieve the enduring value of a more transparent and robust system to manage recovered loot,” SERAP added.
“The return of the Abacha loot is a chance for President Buhari to commit to the enforcement of the 2016 judgment by Justice Mohammed Idris, which ordered his government to publish disclose the spending of recovered loot since 1999 by past and present governments till date, as well as details of projects on which the funds were spent; and to vigorously push the National Assembly to pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill. Buhari should make these happen before the next general elections if he is to truly demonstrate his oft-repeated commitment to fight grand corruption,” SERAP said.