The former governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu and the former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode have rejected the inclusion of their names in the list of 23 alleged treasury looters released by the minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed last Sunday.
In the list, Aliyu allegedly got N1.6 billion from the office of national security adviser while Fani-Kayode was alleged to have helped himself to N800, 000,000
In his reaction, through his media adviser, Israel Ebije, the former governor insisted that Mohammed’s list was skewed and incomplete and threatened to sue the federal government over the matter.
The former governor denied taking the money, adding that he was excluded from the sharing of the fund because he was a member of the G-7.
The G-7 consists of the governors who broke away from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2013.
“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 me before right thinking Nigerians.
“I believe somebody somewhere is leveraging on the unfortunate case I have with the Niger State government to present a bogus dragnet of alleged looters. Let me therefore urge the federal government to de-list me immediately from the alleged looters.
“I demand that my name be cleared on this matter. I may consider other options as a citizen whose right as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Government has been breached. I will not be used to serve the interest of anybody or political party. I will not allow this matter to slide without justice,” he said.
Similarly, Fani-Kayode, said the list of looters released by the government is not complete without the inclusion of President Muhammadu Buhari, his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi as well as Lai Mohammed.
He described the “looters list” as “nonsensical and utterly shameful” and added that he is innocent of any wrongdoing, as he did not receive any money from government coffers.
He explained that although he received N800 million in his capacity as director of publicity during the reelection campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the money was not passed to him by any government official.
“I wish to make it abundantly clear that this is nonsensical and utterly shameful and I hereby reiterate the fact that I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing,” the former minister said of the list. ”
“The federal government claims that I “looted” 800,000,000 naira 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.
“The money that I received was given to me by the Director of Finance of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, before the election in 2015 and it was specifically for the conduct of the Presidential election.
“I was director of media and publicity of the campaign organisation and it was used specifically and solely for the running and conducting of the media and publicity aspect of the election.
“It is common knowledge that the Buhari campaign in 2015 was funded by moneys that can be traced directly to the state governments of Rivers state, Lagos state, Kano state, Ogun State and a number of other key APC states yet, not one of those involved or that governed any of those states at the time have been questioned, arrested or prosecuted by the EFCC or the federal government.
“It is also common knowledge that president Buhari himself was offered and received several benefits and received money from the office of the former national security advisor, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd); yet, nothing has been done about this.
“Meanwhile I reject the false label of “looter” and I hereby return it to sender.
“I also deny all the charges that have been levelled against me by the EFCC, I hereby restate my innocence and I shall continue to vigorously defend myself and my good family name in the court of law,” he said.
For his part, the former permanent secretary in the ministry of power, Godknows Igali, said his name ought not to have been on the list and vowed not to keep quiet against such a weighty allegations of looting N7 billion.
“On account of my background, I am normally taciturn, but I cannot keep silent against such weighty unfounded allegation. Not surprisingly, my name was smuggled to the list, against a whopping ‘loot’ of N7 billion.
“I understand Godknows Igali was dragged in last minute to create the needed effect. After all, he’s one of Jonathan’s main men.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this is totally false, as no amount whatsoever has been recovered from me or traced to me,” he said.
Besides, the lawmaker representing Delta North Senatorial District, Peter Nwaboshi, faulted his inclusion in the list.
Nwaboshi, who is one of the three members of the Senate on the list, was alleged to have looted N1.5bn.
He asked why his name was put on the list when he had not been invited, interrogated and tried in court.
He said: “I don’t know why he (the minister) would mention my name in a matter that is not before any court. I am not a looter. I have never looted any money. I have not been convicted by any court or charged to any court.
“It is an absolute lie. I have never been in a position to loot money. I did a contract and I have the certificate of the contract; it was verified before it was issued. If some miscreants – I call them miscreants – write a petition (against somebody) and you say the person is a looter, that is … taken too far.
“If you have a case and you have not been declared guilty by a court or even tried at all, does that make you a looter? A case has not been proven and your name will just be mentioned?