Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has disclosed that a formal letter of protest has been written to President Muhammadu Buhari to appealing that the Federal Government returns the £4.2 million James Ibori loot being repatriated to Nigeria by the United Kingdom to the state.
The Governor made this known on Wednesday while appearing as a guest on Politics Today aired on Channels Television and monitored by The Matrix.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa believes that since the money was stolen from the state, it would only be just to return the funds to the state.
“I have spoken with the attorney-general of the federation. My attorney-general went to have a meeting with him. I think that we are working and we are likely to come on the same page. We have written a formal letter of protest to Mr. President,” the Governor said.
Ultimately, Governor Okowa believes President Muhammad Buhari will grant the state’s request as that is the right thing to do.
“I do believe that with the approach that we have undertaken it is unlikely that they will refuse the request. It is a strong appeal,” he said.
The governor rubbished claims that if the money is returned to Delta State “it will develop wings”.
“I don’t see how the money will develop wings anyway,” he said.
“That is why we have directly put down projects – three projects where this money can be applied directly to such a manner that it is something you can investigate.”
Recall that Nigeria and the UK signed a memorandum of understanding on March 9 for the repatriation of the funds stolen by Ibori, a former Delta State Governor.
But the development became mired in controversy shortly after the MoU was signed when the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, revealed the money will be spent by the Federal Government on three projects.
The projects it will be spent on, he said, were the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Governor Okowa, however, expects the Federal Government to take a similar route as the UK Government by returning the money to the source it was pilfered from.
“In the same manner of the relationship created between the UK and Nigeria, we also expect that the Nigerian Government will do the same thing by being magnanimous to return the money back to the source, which is Delta State,” he said.
To guarantee that Deltans benefit from the repatriated loot, the governor said it had provided options to the Federal Government and made a compelling case for the state.
“We have made two suggestions; return the money directly to us or apply it directly to projects that we feel are of importance and are in Delta State so that Deltans can directly benefit from the repatriated funds and I don’t think anybody can fault that line (of thinking)”, he said