…Says Otoge lessons not lost on us
…Another N130m ‘looted funds’ ready for pick, says new EFCC zonal head
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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday commended the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying the anti-graft body has helped to gradually restore some sanity and accountability in public administration in the country.
AbdulRazaq spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, when the new Ilorin zonal head of the EFCC Oseni Kazeem paid him a courtesy visit. Oseni had told the governor that a new N130m “looted funds” have been recovered from the previous administration in the state.
The Governor explained how recovered funds had helped to stabilise the government when he was inaugurated in May 2019, and said the administration would soon receive another tranche of recovered looted funds from the EFCC.
He added that his administration is committed to openness and probity in its own activities to avoid the treatment meted to some former government officials, especially because the new government was a product of a struggle that ousted a system many criticised for its corrupt tendencies.
The Governor said: “EFCC is an institution that must not be allowed to die. It has come to stay and it must remain. National and sub-national governments must give full support that the organisation requires. On our part, we will always give you the support and cooperation you need. Let me also thank you for the activities of your organisation. We have been able to collect from your office hundreds of millions of Naira. We will put it to good use. Your effort has stabilised this government.
“When we came in, we received the federal government tax refund of N4.8bn paid to the Kwara State Government. The money came in few days before our inauguration and EFCC made sure that the fund was not frittered away even though there were vouchers to (quickly) spend the money. We thank you for that. On our part, we want to run a responsible government and that is why we embrace the idea of social audit which means all contracts we do can be inspected by individuals or civil society organisations and make recommendations to the government. The House of Assembly just concluded its oversight of our projects.
“We know why people voted us in and we know why they voted out the previous administration. We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes committed by the previous administration. So, we want to run an open government and make sure the right things are done. We’re ready to support you. We know that you have your independence. There is no way our government can influence you because even the President does not interfere in your activities.”
Kazeem, the new EFCC helmsman for Ilorin Zone which comprises Kwara, Kogi and Ekiti States, commended the Governor for his giant strides and his attempts to bring governance closer to the people.
He announced that the zonal office has received approval from its headquarters to hand over another N130m recovered looted funds to the state government.
His words: “We felt obliged to pay you a visit and identify with your good governance, because it’s when there is good governance that the citizens will reap the fruits of their labour. If there is a good government that is bereft of economic and financial crimes that is when the populace will enjoy the democracy we all fought for,” he said, commending the new administration for its commitment to openness.
“We are here (Ilorin) to deter people from committing Economic and Financial Crimes in the society. We all know that crime is inevitable in human society. It is almost impossible not to see criminal elements when two or three are gathered. But the EFCC is here to fish out the criminal elements and deal with them according to the law. The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Umar Muhammed, has directed that we must act according to the provisions of the law and we’ll continue to operate within the ambit of the law.
“We appreciate your supports so far and we also want more support from the State Government and the entire people. We want the people to come out and give us information that will assist the Commission to know the criminal elements in the society.”
The state government has so far received N366,816,691 looted funds from some officials from the previous administration.
Part of the recovered funds earlier returned by the EFCC belonged to the local government areas.