…Says money belongs to Delta and must be used in Delta alone
Ndu Samuel, Asaba
A youth leader in Delta State, Comr. Bene Youkore Mamamu, popularly known as young Chief has countered a statement credited to the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami that the £4.2m Ibori loot be used to fund federal government projects that are of no bearing with Delta State, saying that the loot recovered from James Ibori, former governor of Delta, should be returned to the source, which is the state for its development.
Comr. Youkore Mamamu Bene made this known to newsmen in Warri via a press statement, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide.
Commenting on the position of Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, who had said the recovered loot will be channelled into federal projects, young Chief said the money should go to Delta, since it was meant for the development of the state.
It would be recalled that on Tuesday, the United Kingdom made a commitment to return £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori to the federal government.
Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to that effect with Malami.
In the statement, Bene Mamamu argued that since the Ibori loot in question left the coffers of Delta state, the federal government has no locus standi or whatsoever to decide how the recovered money should be spent.
In his words: “Having acknowledged the role of the federal government, the fund has to return to the source. Factually, between 1999 and 2003, the Delta state government like other state governments in Nigeria received its statutory allocation on a monthly basis and paid same into the account of the government. From that account, some amount was alleged to have been diverted and taken to the United Kingdom.
“As the honourable attorney-general had said, the money is over £100 million. What has been released now is the first tranche of £4.2 million. Since the money left the coffers of the Delta state government, it has to be returned once this fund is recovered.
“The federal government has no locus standi with respect to how the money is spent. It is left for we the people of Delta state to monitor the federal Government to ensure that the fund is not relooted.
“In fact, the memorandum of understanding referred to by the attorney-general signed in London, smacks of colonialism. Britain cannot decide on how recovered loot should be spent.
“What I expect the attorney-general or the federal government — in the circumstance — is to collaborate with the Delta state government to ensure that the banks that housed the looted wealth of Delta state or the banks involved, are made to pay collosal damages and interests for denying the people of Delta state the opportunity to use the money for development.”
The young leader warned that anything less than Delta State taking charge of the money for its development will not be accepted under any guise.