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Obasanjo: Nigerians Still Siphoning Funds Abroad... investigations on

Posted by From Josephine Lohor in Abuja on 2005/07/15 | Views: 536 |

Obasanjo: Nigerians Still Siphoning Funds Abroad... investigations on

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday disclosed that some “highly placed people” in Nigeria, who were still siphoning money out of the country would soon face the wrath of the law.

President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday disclosed that some “highly placed people” in Nigeria, who were still siphoning money out of the country would soon face the wrath of the law.

The President while receiving a Kwara State delegation led by Governor Bukola Saraki, that came to congratulate him on the debt relief granted the country by the Paris Club, said the names of such individuals and their mode of operations have been brought to his attention during the debt relief negotiations.

He added that security agencies would move against such individuals as soon as detailed information is made available to the Federal Government.

The Paris Club of creditors recently granted Nigeria 60 per cent debt reprieve, amounting to about $18 billion, after a prolonged campaign by Obasanjo. Nigeria’s total indebtedness to the Club is $34 billion.
Obasanjo said getting the $18 billion debt written off was not an easy task because the creditors were “no fools”.

According to him, “we must also realise that this debt relief did not at all come easy. After the struggle to get it and the conditions with the World Bank and the International Development Agency, we had to struggle to get that because that was one of the conditions listed."

“And for us to get out while the price of oil is high, as they have shown me, some of our highly placed people are still misbehaving and siphoning money out of the country. Of course, as we get more information, we will react on those other reports”, he added.

Obasanjo said the National Council of State that is made up of former leaders of Nigeria and serving governors, would soon sit to deliberate on options to explore for the payment of $12 billion that would allow Nigeria exit the Paris Club.

While responding to an observation by Governor Saraki that N180 million was being deducted from his state’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account to service the $350 million debt incurred by the state, Obasanjo assured that debtor states would soon get reprieve.

“We are going into the human angle of NEEDS (Nigeria Economic Empowerment Development Strategy), like food supply, health, electricity and so on. We are indeed challenged to do what is right for the people and Nigeria,” he said.

He said the creditors insisted on making sure that Government was serious about its reform programme and that “it, debt relief, is a thing we all have to feel proud that we are able to achieve at this time, but those who are granting us debt relief are no fools. They know us and what we are doing and they are convinced that what we are doing is right and we should do more of what we doing right”.

Saraki, while attributing the debt relief from the Paris Club to the President’s passion and commitment, noted that “with this singular achievement, I have no doubt that your place in history is fully secured as the President that freed Nigeria from the shackles of indebtedness”.

Also, the new Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Iliyasu Bashair, in Jega yesterday led a delegation of traditional rulers from Kebbi State to congratulate Obasanjo on the debt relief.

Meanwhile, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential candidate in the 2003 polls, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Federal Government to explain conditions under which it obtained the recent debt relief.

At a press conference at his Daura residence yesterday, he said Nigerians would be “very much interested to know under what conditions the relief was arrived at ''.

He said the Federal Government might have gotten the relief from Paris Club under circumstances, conditions and terms that might not be favourable to the common man.

He maintained that debt relief of such magnitude could not have come ``so easily and cheaply'', saying without the explanations Nigerians would be suspicious.

Possible conditions for such relief Buhari said could include the devaluation of the Naira and massive retrenchment among others.
He, therefore advised that the federal government should not be seen to be accepting such conditions.

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