Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), says the loot recovered from convicted ex-Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, belongs to the state and not the Federal Government.
He, therefore, faulted the Federal Government’s plan to use the recently recovered £4.2m to construct Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano railway and other federal projects.
Falana, in a statement, said, “The £4.2m does not belong to the Federal Government. The money confiscated from Governor Joshua Dariye in the United Kingdom was recovered by the Federal Government, repatriated to Nigeria and returned to the Plateau State Government.
“The money confiscated from Governor Diepreye Alamieyesigha in the United Kingdom was recovered by the Federal Government, repatriated to Nigeria and remitted to the account of Bayelsa State Government.
“Since what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, the sum of £4.2 million confiscated from Governor James Ibori in the UK and recovered by the Federal Government has to be remitted to the account of the Delta State Government.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had said one of the reasons the recovered loot could not be given to the Delta State Government was that part of the conditions for the repatriation of the fund was that it would be used for certain projects.
He said this agreement had also been backed by a Memorandum of Understanding.
Responding, however, Falana said, “The memorandum of understanding signed by the representatives of the British Government and the Federal Government cannot supersede the constitution which has prohibited any form of discrimination in the country.
“In other words, by virtue of Section 42 of the constitution the governments and people of Plateau, Bayelsa and Delta States are entitled to equal rights and opportunities.
“Interestingly, some concerned citizens of Delta State have decided to join issues with the Federal Government. Otherwise, another sum of $20m which will soon be recovered and repatriated from the confiscated fund will also be claimed by the Federal Government on very shaky legal grounds.”