By Emeka Okafor
The House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to consult the Delta State government upon completion of investigation of the repatriation process before spending the £4.2m seized from the state governor, Chief James Ibori.
It also directed that the money should not be spent until the government concluded the repatriation process to the country.
This was the resolve of the House when lawmakers from Delta kicked against the spending of the funds on federal projects outside the state without the involvement of the Delta government.
A motion titled ‘Urgent Need to Halt Appropriation of 4.2 Million Pounds Looted Funds Recovered from a Former Governor of Delta State by the Federal Government,’ was jointly sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and Rev Francis Waive, Victor Nwokolo, Nicholas Mutu, Leo Ogor, Nicholas Ossai, Julius Pondi, Ben Igbakpa, Efe Afe and Thomas Ereyitomi.
The lawmakers insisted that the money should be taken back to the state while alleging that the actual amount is £6.2m, and not £4.2m.
The lawmakers also resolved to investigate the circumstances surrounding the recovery and planned disbursement of the loot.
The House unanimously adopted a motion jointly, directing the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, to “stop forthwith further appropriation/and or disbursement of recovered loot of the £4.2m pending the final determination of the matter by the House.”
The minority leader, Elumelu, who moved the motion on behalf of his colleagues from Delta, said, “The House notes that the sum of £4.2m, being proceeds of looted funds recovered from a former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, is being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and /or parliament in two weeks’ time.
“The House is aware that the said recovered looted funds belongs to the good people of Delta State and, as such, ought to be refunded to the coffers of the Delta State Government for developmental purposes. The House is aware that assets seized by EFCC from states were returned to such states, i.e., Bayelsa and Abia states, etc.
“The House is worried that if the Federal Government is allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the Delta State Government, the people of Delta State will be short-changed/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the state as well as provide the requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.”
The Federal Government had disclosed the money would be spent on some federal projects outside the state after signing agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom on the repatriation of the said seized money.