$2.1 Billion scandal Jonathan must speak- PDP

The national leadership of the Peoples
Democratic Party has called on former President Goodluck Jonathan to
speak out on the controversial $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms to
fight Boko Haram insurgency during his tenure but which was allegedly
shared by some influential politicians.
Jonathan, who was the presidential
candidate of the PDP during the 2015 elections, was defeated by
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was the candidate of the All
Progressives Congress.
The PDP said the controversy surrounding
the sharing of the money by the former National Security Adviser, Col.
Sambo Dasuki (retd.), should have attracted the former President’s
attention by now.
It said the manner in which the money
was shared among members of the party and others was disgraceful to the
former ruling party.

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Abdulahi Jalo, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Jalo, who spoke at the party’s national
headquarters, said the former President should tell Nigerians and the
international community whether he authorised the sharing of the money
meant to fight insurgency in the North-East in particular and the
country as a whole.
He insisted that all those who took part in the sharing of the money should be made to refund it.
He said, “As all of you know, no single kobo can be spent by the Federal Government without an act of the National Assembly.
“Money earmarked for arms purchase, some
people diverted it to something else. So many people that you cannot
even expect were involved. Now, darkness has come to light.
“Jonathan is alive, he should clarify
whether he asked the National Security Adviser to divert money meant to
fight Boko Haram into his campaign.
“I’m from the North-East and I know the terrible security situation our people are facing there.
“The money was meant to fight Boko
Haram, and we all know that you can’t rule without peace. Now darkness
has given way for the light.”
Jalo added, “It was not only members of
the PDP that shared the money; members of the All Progressives Grand
Alliance, Accord Party and the Social Democratic Party, among others,
also shared. At least, Chief Olu Falae is not a member of the PDP.
“All of them should return the money. Then, (former) President Jonathan must speak on it. He is still alive.
“Has he ever said anything like this to
Dasuki, ‘go and take from the money meant for the war against Boko Haram
and share for my campaign’? It is time for him to speak up.”
Some prominent members of the party, who
had been allegedly linked to the sharing of the money, include a former
Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili (N100m); a former Governor of
Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa (N100m); Aliyu Shinkafi (N100m); and a
former information minister, Chief Jim Nwobodo (N500m).
Others are a former Chairman of the
party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih (N260m); ex-PDP National
Chairman, Sen. Ahmadu Ali (N100m); a former National Deputy Chairman of
the party, Chief Bode George (N100m/$30,000); Yerima Abdullahi (N100m);
Gen. Bello Sarkin Yaki (retd.) (N200m); founding Chairman, Daar
Communications Plc, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi; Iyorchia Ayu’s company(N345m);
BAM Properties(N300m); and Dalhatu Investment Limited(N1.5bn).
Also mentioned in the scam are ex-PDP
National Chairman, Bello Haliru; Abba Mohammed, Sagir Attahiru, serving
and former members of the House of Representatives (over N600m); former
Chairman of the House of Representatives on Security and Intelligence,
Bello Matawalle(N300m); ACACIA Holdings(N600m); and a former Minister of
State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda (N1.9bn) among others.
Those who have been linked to collecting
cash but are not members of the PDP are a former Governor of Oyo State,
Senator Rashidi Ladoja (N100); a former Secretary to the Government of
the Federation, Chief Olu Falae (N100); and former presidential adviser,
Tanko Yakassai (N63m).
Jalo recalled that the party held a
fundraising dinner for the presidential campaign during which more than
N20bn was realised, challenging any of the beneficiaries of the money
from Dasuki to explain how the party benefitted from such money.
He said, “We are not fools. Money meant for the party’s campaign was given to the chairman of our party.
“We had a dinner, where billions of money was realised and this money was for the campaign. We said so and Nigerians were aware.
“We thank God that all those who took
money used their private accounts and companies to get that. What has
this got to do with the PDP?
“Haliru Bello did a contract with the office of Sambo Dasuki to the tune of N600m with his company’s name, not PDP.”
Jalo added, “In the case of Olisa Metuh
(National Publicity Secretary of the PDP), his company allegedly had
transactions with the Office of National Security Adviser. So, what is
PDP’s business with that?
“We want those people that have been accused to shed more light, whether they were given the money to campaign for Jonathan.
“Did they bring the money to the party
national secretariat? PDP has nothing to do with individuals that used
their companies to do contracts with National Security Adviser.
“Those who have been accused to have
collected money from the office of the NSA should come and tell
Nigerians how they used the money for the party.
“PDP has no company. It is not a private
company. It is a political party. Was this money paid into the party
account? No. So, these people are ‘on their own’.”
Jalo added that all the recipients of
the money from the office of the NSA were educated and ought to have
asked where the money was coming from.
He said it would be wrong of them to claim ignorance of the source of the money.
He stated, “They know that the money was
meant for the purchase of arms; and why didn’t they ask him in case
they didn’t know, ‘oga, where is this money coming from?’
“Because of their actions now, people are looking at every member of the PDP as criminals.
“Me, Jalo, I’m not a criminal. I didn’t
benefit and I didn’t ask for any money and I wouldn’t have asked for any
money from the office of the NSA or anywhere.”
He wondered why some prominent members
of the party have remained quiet since the scandal broke out, wondering
if they benefitted one way or the other from the looted fund.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Peoples
Congress has said it is shell-shocked by the revelation and confession
of some public office-holders and their political associates of billions
of naira arms funds embezzled and misappropriated during the Jonathan’s
administration.
It said it was amazed that the $2.1bn
appropriated to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East and
other parts of the country, where thousands of soldiers and innocent
civilians were killed, wounded and abducted, and millions of people
displaced from their homes, could be brazenly looted by eminent public
officers and their cronies.
The National Chairman of the party, Mr.
Olusegun Peters, who stated this in a statement on Monday in Abuja,
argued that there was no moral justification “for the sharing of this
blood money by Dasuki and his collaborators.’’
Peters added, “Our hearts bleed that
eminent Nigerians entrusted with the security and welfare of the
citizenry could be so heartless to divert, misappropriate and embezzle
$2.1 billion for the procurement of weapons to fight Boko Haram
insurgents, when our gallant soldiers protested that they were not well
equipped and were Court Marshalled for refusing to fight the
insurgents.”
He called on Buhari to dig deeper into
the arms deal with a view to identifying and prosecuting the culprits to
serve as a deterrent to all those who would attempt such heinous crime
against the country in future.
Also the Presidency on Monday said the
defection from other political parties to the ruling All Progressives
Congress by politicians accused of corruption would not stop them from
being investigated and prosecuted.
The Special Adviser to the President on
Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview with
one of our correspondents
Adesina was asked if defection from PDP
to the APC was enough to save those already mentioned in the $2.1bn arms
scandal from investigation and prosecution.
A former Minister of Sports, Chief Jim
Nwobodo, had been named as one of the beneficiaries of some funds
distributed by a former Minister of State for Finance, Yuguda, defected
from the PDP to the APC on Friday.
Nwobodo said he was the Chairman of the
Contact Committee of the PDP Presidential Campaign for the South-East,
and the only fund received by the committee for its work was N100m from
PDP’s National Chairman, Dr. Adamu Mu’azu.
Adesina, however, said the present
administration’s anti-corruption fight would not be based on party
affiliation, adding that the President would not encourage any cover-up.
“It is not in the nature of this
administration to cover anyone who has questions to answer on
corruption, irrespective of party affiliation,” he said.
The presidential spokesman explained
that the release of a former military governor of Kaduna State and a
chieftain of the APC, Jafaru Isa, by the EFCC had nothing to do with
Isa’s relationship with the President.
Isa, who was quizzed by the commission,
was said to have been released after he refunded N100m of the N170m he
allegedly received from the embattled Dasuki.
“The EFCC is in a better position to
tell you why Jafaru Isa was released. But it definitely has nothing to
do with his relationship with the President. If that were the case, then
he would not have been picked in the first place,” he said.
Meanwhile, the EFCC on Monday said it
had not invited Jonathan for questioning in connection with the arms
fund probe because no document had established a link between the former
President and the distribution of the fund for other purposes other
than arms purchase.
The acting Chairman of the commission,
Mr. Ibrahim Magu, explained that the former President could not be
arrested as some had canvassed as no document had been traced to
Jonathan, giving any approval for the disbursement of the money for any
other purpose than arms procurement.
Magu, who spoke with some online
publishers in Lagos, added that those who had been quizzed so far in
connection with the fund were people who either collected or
redistributed the money for reasons other than the purchase of arms.
“All approvals by former President
Jonathan did not mention that it was for political purposes. All the
memos approved by him was for the purchase of arms,”Magu added.

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