THE Federal Government has responded to the challenge thrown to it by the People Democratic Party (PDP), naming the looters during their 16 years of piloting the affairs of Nigeria.
The PDP had challenged the government to name members in its fold who amassed wealth through illegal means while it was in power.
The opposition party had advised it to keep quiet if it could not do so.
Responding, the government through its Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said, “the PDP has challenged us to name the looters under their watch. They said they did not loot the treasury
“Well, I am sure they know that the treasury was looted dry under their watch. Yet they decided to grandstand. This shows the hollowness of their apology to Nigerians.
“Let’s just give them a teaser with this list: PDP Chairman Uche Secondus, On the 19th of Feb 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of then NSA, Then PDP Financial Secretary, On the 24th of Oct 2014, he took N600 million only from the office of then NSA, then National Publicity Secretary Olisah Metuh, on trial for collecting N1.4b from the office of then NSA.
“Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications, on trial for taking N2.1 billion from the office of then NSA, former SSA to President Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, on trial over N830 million kept in accounts of four different companies, former President Jonathan’s Cousin Robert Azibaola on, Thursday, a Federal High Court ruled that he has a case to answer for collecting $40 million from the office of then NSA.
“This list is just a tip of the iceberg, and the PDP is aware of this. We did not make these cases up. Many of these cases are in court and the records are available. Some of the people on this list are seeking to plea bargain, and that is a fact.
“We insist that Nigeria was looted blind under the watch of the PDP, and that the starting point in tendering an apology is for them to return the loot.
“It’s like a robber admitting to stealing your car and apologizing, but then saying he will keep the car anyway. It doesn’t work that way.
“The PDP is a hypocrite. And that reminds me of what English writer William Hazlitt said: “The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
“We will not stop talking about the massive looting by the PDP. They brought Nigeria to this sorry pass. We are now looking around for loans to build infrastructure, and they ask us not to talk about it. we will talk about it”.
In same vein, the PDP has described the list as laughable and an extension of the federal government’s media trial, promising to release it’s own version of looters hiding in the ruling party.
The opposition party, therefore, challenged the government to come up names of its members against whom the federal government had secured convictions.
In a statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday, the party maintained that the list put forward by the Federal Government as purported looters amounts to a cheap blackmail as none of those listed have been indicted or convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction or any panel of enquiry in our country.
It said the list issued by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, only goes to show that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency have no proof of corruption against the PDP.
The party said in its frenzy and desperation, the federal government even included names of individuals who are not standing trial or under investigation for any act of corruption, as well as those who are not even PDP members.
“The Buhari-led Federal Government has manifested its frenzy by going after matters that are in court and in which none of the persons has been convicted, thus betraying their wickedness and desperation to mislead the public, the court and divert attention from the heavy looting involving their members.
“We are not in doubt that the individuals he has mentioned will take their legitimate stride and pursue appropriate action in the court.
“However, attacks on individuals, who are members of our party, does not in anyway detract from the fact that the PDP, as a political platform, is not a party of corruption.
“It is unfortunate that the APC and its government under whose watch horrendous sleazes are happening on daily basis and a government that has failed to fulfil the littlest of its campaign promises can spend a wholesome three years searching for flimsy allegations to discredit our party and its members.
“This is a government that is yet to account for $26 billion (N9 trillion) stolen through corrupt oil contracts in the NNPC, N1.1 trillion worth of crude diverted to service APC interests, N18 billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) intervention fund stolen by APC officials, including their former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal,
“The N10 billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for which members of the Buhari cabal were indicted as well as the Mainagate, where the APC government recalled and reinstated an individual indicted for scam running into billions of naira.
“This is in addition to cover provided for serving ministers indicted for corrupt enrichment, among whom is a prominent former APC governor from the south-south, who was indicted by his state for stealing billions of naira to fund President Buhari’s campaign in 2015.
“We emphatically say that the PDP is on a rebound and such flimsy allegations by the APC and its horde of looters, who stole humongous wealth from their respective states of the federation to sponsor an incompetent candidate in 2015, cannot stop us from challenging the Federal Government to fulfil its campaign promises.
“Since the APC has decided to draw this attack, we will no longer hold back but appropriately commence a serialization of all looters hiding in APC and the Presidency.”