Thursday, 16 November 2017

How Obono-Obla managed press gag on Wednesday public outing with SERAP

Efio-Ita Nyok|16 November 2017 

Being a participant in company with Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and rights activist Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) in a seminar organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in Lagos, Wednesday, the Chairman, Special Investigative Panel on Assets Recovery Okoi Obono-Obla, seem to be learning the ropes of good behaviour in public our correspondent has garnered. 

While the duo of Falana and Malami were mouthy while addressing the public and the Press in the said seminar, Chief Obla-Obono was reported to be cautious. According to SaharaReporters, Obla shied away from making political statements : 'Obla, who refrained from clear political comments because he had been "gagged", said there would be no sacred cows in the quest to recover fraudulently acquired assets.

'Obono-Obla said: "Without mentioning names, we are currently investigating a director in a Federal Government ministry…We saw so much and we went to the Code of Conduct Bureau, got his asset form and discovered that a lot of companies that he has been using to make money were not mentioned in his assets declaration form. The man is in soup."

'The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions vowed that the panel would not recognize any sacred cows. He urged Nigerians to assist it with information on assets procured with stolen funds. 

"If you don't give us information, we may not know. The panel has powers to investigate public officers in the three tiers of government: federal, state and local. No sacred cows, as far as I am concerned. We must investigate everybody. Any complaint that requires an investigation will be investigated," Obono-Obla said'. 

In fact, Obono-Obla wasn't selected to represent the AGF but the Senior Special Assistant on White Collar Crimes, Mr Abiodun Aikomo. 

For instance, while Falana was very express in his accusations, like accusing the United States, Switzerland, the UK and other western nations of hypocritical behavior in Nigeria's quest to recover loot stashed in their banks, and identified the US as the country concerned, Obla couldn't even mention the affected ministry or public officer. Falans would say :

'Nigeria traced part of the Abacha loot to Jersey, an island in the United Kingdom. The Attorney-General filed a process to – by the way I was in that country when the person was convicted – the money left Nigeria through Kenya and landed in Jersey. It was from the late Abacha," he said.

'Nigeria wanted to collect the remaining loot. But the United States filed an objection saying the money could not be released to Nigeria." 

'The court asked why, the US said if the money must be released, it should be released to the US government, so that 'we can manage it for Nigeria."

'The other one, $321million, Switzerland, a notorious conduit for corruption, had the temerity to say that 'unless the World Bank is going to manage this money, we are not going to release this money.'

This gag is so powerful ooooo! 

Efio-Ita Nyok
Is a Blogger, the Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of NegroidHaven 

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