Repatriated £4.2M Belongs To Delta, Says Reps, Falana

The House of Representatives as well as Mr. Femi Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has thrown their weight behind the Delta State Government in its bid to lay claims to the £4.2 million recovered by the United Kingdom due to be repatriated to Nigeria soon.

The House house of had during plenary yesterday asked the federal government to put a hold to its plans to spend the money as it belongs to the government of Delta state.

A rights lawyer, Femi Falana also rejected the expenditure outlay the federal government released on Tuesday.

There are also wide insinuations that the state government is considering options on how to get back the money, recovered in the UK from the associates of a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, from the federal government when finally repatriated.

The House at the plenary yesterday urged the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to stop further appropriation or disbursement of the recovered funds, pending the final determination of the matter by the House.

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It also requested the ministry and the Attorney-General of the Federation to furnish it with all particulars relating to the recovered money.

In addition, the House Committees on Finance, Justice, Loans, and Recovered Funds are to investigate the matter and revert to the House within two weeks.

The resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance, sponsored by the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and nine other lawmakers from Delta State.

Falana said the funds belong to Delta State and not the federal government.

He faulted the federal government’s plan to use the money to construct the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja-Kano railway, and other federal projects.

Falana, in a statement, said: ‘The £4.2 million 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 Alamieyesiegha 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.

Falana stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the representatives of the UK and the federal government cannot supersede the constitution, which prohibits any form of discrimination.

‘In other words, by virtue of Section 42 of the constitution, the governments and people of Plateau, Bayelsa, and the 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 $20 million, which will soon be recovered and repatriated from the confiscated fund will also be claimed by the federal government on very shaky legal grounds,’ Falana said.

Meanwhile, the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, yesterday told correspondents that the state government was weighing its options to ensure that the federal government treats the state fairly.

‘We believe that we have had a very cordial relationship with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and to that extent, we are open to a fair and firm discussion with the federal government’. He stated