A human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has advised the Federal Government against sharing the recovered $350m (about N115bn) Sani Abacha loot among households in 19 states across the country.
According to the group, the Federal Government plans to share the recovered N115bn among 300,000 households in 19 states with each getting N5,000.
But in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP contended that the planned spending was not only ill-advised but also discriminatory against citizens in the 17 excluded states.
The group contended that apart from the fact that the N5,000 would not make any significant impact on the lives of the beneficiaries, the planned sharing was also subject to abuse by state governors who might ensure that only their acolytes benefit.
SERAP said rather than share the N115bn among households, the money should be spent on education, health care and provision of social amenities, especially water.
It advised the Federal Government to get funds for its National Social Safety Net Programme from another source.
SERAP said, “The authorities should do the right thing with the returned loot and show Nigerians that they can properly and efficiently invest the funds in projects that would provide tangible benefits to the victims of corruption who are the socially and economically vulnerable sectors of the population.
“The authorities can use the loot to fund universal health care programme and a tuition assistance programme that would provide post-secondary/university education scholarships to young Nigerians from poor families and who would otherwise lack the resources to carry out their studies.
“In any case, sharing the returned loot to households in 19 states because the remaining 17 state governments have not yet put in place the appropriate platform through which to implement the NAASP is both unfair and discriminatory.
“The planned distribution is also vulnerable to abuse and corruption by state governors, who may push for the funds to be given to their supporters and thus used for parochial and political purposes. The proper and efficient spending of recovered funds is key for development and can support efforts to combat grand corruption.
“Spending returned looted funds offers an opportunity to right wrongs committed by corrupt officials, rebuild public trust, and invest in the development of communities most affected by grand corruption in the country to improve the prospects for meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is important for the authorities to ameliorate the plight of communities that have borne the brunt of years of grand corruption by providing genuine opportunities for the socially and economically vulnerable sectors for personal development, and access to essential services as well as promoting the rule of law particularly by enforcing the judgment by Justice Idris.”