President Muhammadu Buhari did not release details of looted asset, recovered from corrupt persons, due to “legal reasons”, an official has said.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Sunday evening, hours after Mr. Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast.
“Yes, he initially said so (that he’ll give specific details about recovered loot), but he was advised against doing so for legal reasons,” the Cable Newspapers quoted Mr. Mohammed as saying during an interview on Channels Television.
Mr. Buhari had on May 14 in London promised to provide specific details of stolen asset by former public officials.
“So far, what has come out, what has been recovered in whatever currency from each ministries, departments and individuals, I intend on the 29th to speak on this because all Nigerians are getting from the mass media because of the number of people arrested either by the EFCC, DSS. But we want to make a comprehensive report on the 29th,” Mr. Buhari had said.
But during his nation-wide address on Sunday morning, the President failed to make the details public. Instead, he said, the Information Ministry would soon release relevant details.
The development immediately drew the ire of Nigerians, who became outraged that their leader has once again failed to live up to his words.
But Mr. Mohammed said his principal has the right to reverse himself.
“Of course, he has a right to reverse himself on that,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed, however, said the administration will publish some details of recovered loot, but a far cry from what the president initially promised.
“We will get the list but not today; before the end of the week. But I must say not with the names,” he said.
But the claims that legal consequences prevented the president from announcing the names appear to be in sharp contrast with what the president did in January when he released the names of former military officials, private individuals and companies.
On January 15, Mr. Buhari published up to 41 names of former services chiefs, firms and individuals said to be responsible for over $2B arms procurement fund that was unaccounted for.