Vice President: Why We Didn’t Name Public Funds Looters
Laolu Akande, Abuja: Releasing the names of persons from whom the federal government has recovered looted funds and assets may jeopardize ongoing investigations, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said.
While the government released a list of sums of monies and assets already recovered in the last one year, names of individuals involved were not included.
“We have released the list of recovered loot, we know people are are asking for the names, but releasing the names may jeopardize ongoing investigations,” the Vice President said today at the Presidential Villa during a meeting with a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion.
The Vice President also explained that the federal government is engaging leaders and people of the Niger Delta regarding the spate of attacks on oil installations in the area, an act he stated amounts to economic sabotage. But besides reaching out to the people in the area, government is also beefing up security he assured.
According to him, the focus of the Buhari presidency “is to ensure that the man on the street in the Niger Delta receives the benefit from all that is available there,” while calling on the leaders in the region to be accountable to the people.
Prof. Osinbajo added that government is working round the clock to minimize the losses arising from the attacks, adding that “we are talking, we are ensuring that we minimize losses and we are stepping up security. We are also engaging the international oil companies, IOCs, to see what options exists.”
On economic issues, the Vice President restated government’s commitment to drive its diversification policy and encouraged investors from European countries to take advantage of the situation especially in the agro-allied/processing industry.
He restated the determination of the administration to ensure that the ease of doing business ranking in Nigeria goes up by at least 20 steps in the World Bank rating. To this end, he said the President has approved the composition of a Presidential Commission on the matter to be chaired by himself, the VP, and Industry, Trade & Investment Minister, Dr. Okey Enelamah as Vice Chairman. “In the next few months, we should be seeing some changes,” he promised.
Earlier Ambassador Arrion said he came to hold consultations with the Vice President as a follow-up on President Buhari’s meeting with EU leaders during his visit to the continent, adding that “Nigeria has a huge market we can invest in. It is also a place we can export from.”
Both the Vice President and the European Union Envoy also discussed the EU trade deal with ECOWAS, the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, which was also one of the main issues tabled at the meeting of West African leaders over the weekend in Dakar.