Ijaw Activists, Ambaoewei Tells President Buhari, Advocates Trust Fund
By Enideneze Etete

The President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government has been tasked to sincerely return to Bayelsa State, the $1Million US dollars recovered from the Late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha’s secret account in the United States of America.

An Ijaw activists and former works commissioner from Bayelsa State, Engr. Charles Ambaiowei, made the demand in a telephone interview this journalist.

Engr. Ambaiowei stated that in the past, huge sums of money recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from Late Chief Alamieyeseigha, were said to have been returned to Bayelsa State, but there was nothing to that effect in State. He alleged that the loots recovered in the past were in turn looted by other looters.

Thus, he expressed fear that the so-called recent $1M recovered from Late Alamieyeseigha’s account in the USA, should not turn out to be another sad tale of the “loot looted” by other looters.

“The $1M recovered from Late Alamieyeseigha’s account in the United States of America, should be returned by the Federal Government to Bayelsa State. It belongs to Bayelsa, so it should be returned without delay to the State”, he however demanded.

Ambaiowei who is also former vice chairman and acting chairman of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) as well as delegate to the National Conference during Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration, decried that there was no effective anti-corruption programme in the State, a situation he explained created chance for bracing looting of public funds.

He therefore, suggested that a special account should be opened to keep stolen funds recovered from the State’s coffers, if the Buhari administration returns them to the State.

According to him, such a special account will provide financial insurance against economic doom as well as serve as fund to draw funds for very important development projects in the State.

The Ijaw activist equally called for the formation of State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission SEFCC) in all states, in order to curb reckless looting of public resources meant for development. He stated that the formation of such anti-corruption commission in a state like Bayelsa, could supplement the transparency initiative programme of the Governor Dickson administration, which lays the state’s finances and expenditures bare to the people to scrutinise.

Ambaiowei noted that the fact that monies were still being discovered from secrete foreign bank accounts, where they were starched by the Late Alamieyeiseigha and other leaders, shows why development has eluded the people and places that the resources were actually meant for a long time.

According to him, some present leaders in the Niger Delta, where internal corruption is one cause of underdevelopment, were still looting public resources at the expense of the common good of the region. He equally alleged that despite the so-called anti-corruption war of President Buhari, some present leaders are also still looting at the federal level.

It will be recalled that late 2016, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Justice, disclosed that it won a case in the USA for the forfeiture and recovery of the sum of $1M from Late Chief Alamieyeseigha as well as more than $500M from Late Chief Sani Abacha’s secret account in that country.

The stunning disclosure was made by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami who also disclosed that the Federal Government had arranged in to obtain the recovered loots in November, 2016. Malami had added that he was to lead a team to forward Federal Government’s account details to the USA for transmission of the recovered funds.

But the last is yet to be heard about the receipt of the monies, a development that caused apprehension as to whether, the current loots would not be wrapped in controversy like previous ones that impact are yet to be felt in terms returning them to the appropriate federal and state offices for public benefit.

As the drama goes on, concerned Bayelsans and groups are watching to see how the recent recovered loots will end.

The Late Chief Almieyeseigha, first civilian governor of Bayelsa State, was enmeshed in corruption battle with former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, and was convicted for money laundering in Britain in circumstance believed by some as political, due to his outspokenness in resource control agitation and underground support for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s presidential election ambition, ahead of the 2003 PDP’s primary election.