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UPU To British Parliament: Recovered Ibori £4.2 Million Fund Is Delta Money, Planned Dispossession Unjust

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Chief James Ibori

By Daniel Dafe, Abraka

President General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide, Chief (Engr.) Joe Omene, on behalf of the Urhobo apex body, has said that
the “recovered Ibori £4.2 Million fund is Delta Money and planned dispossession is unjust.”

Recall that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari said the recovered Ibori loot will under their supervision be used to fund projects and not returned to the Okowa-led adminstration.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker,
British Parliament, UPU noted that “the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) is a Socio-Cultural Organisation representing Urhobo people who are the largest ethnic group (5 million)of Delta state.”

The letter reads in part: “The UPU which is second to the ANC of South Africa was formed in 1931 to promote the progress, prosperity and wellbeing of Urhobo people and other indigenous Ethnic groups within and beyond Nigeria that would be adversely affected by the expressed intention to deny the state of its recovered funds.”

While commending the British Government for its handling of the judicial process in this case that culminated in the decision to return recovered looted funds of the people of Delta State to Nigeria, UPU said the group “is deeply pained that one of its own political elites, contrary to the values and goals of the UPU is at the centre of the issue.”

“The UPU condemns such conduct and dissociates itself from the values that motivates such conduct, but gratified that by the action of the British Judicial process that have conveyed governance values that the UPU can leverage on for Justice and fairplay,” the Union added.

UPU urged the British Parliament through its government “to extend further the fairness of its judicial process by ensuring that the recovered funds are returned to the real victims namely, the entire people of Delta State, of which the Urhobos are a significant majority.”

“In particular, the Urhobo Progressive Union views with consternation the unacceptable expressed intention by the Federal Government of Nigeria to disposses the people of Delta State of its recovered stolen funds on the basis of an alleged Memorandum of Understanding with the British Government,” saying that “the UPU views such an M.O.U, if true, as an act that is unmindful of the collective sensibilities of the entire people of Delta State.”

Continuing, UPU said “it would amount to adding salt to the injury of a people who are already badly hurt and indeed amounts to a double jeopardy.”

The UPU wondered “why the case of Delta should be treated differently when there are precedents of similar recoveries in the past that were delivered to the affected States, namely, Bayelsa and Plateau States.”

“The recovered funds no doubt belongs to the people of Delta State, where it was unlawfully taken from and not from the Federation account like Abacha’s recovered funds.

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“The UPU is of the opinion that, If the concern of the Federal Government of Nigeria planned dispossession of Delta State of its recovered funds is borne out of the fear, though genuine, that the government of Delta State is still within the clutches of political elements loyal to Ibori and the funds may be re-looted then the Federal Government should use this tranche of recovered funds and others to be returned to fund countless unfinished and abandoned federal projects in Delta state, including but not limited to:

1. Ologbo to Warri decayed Federal Road

2. Sapele/Amukpe/Aghalokpe/Eku/Abraka to Agbor Federal road, abandoned for over 30 years

3. Asaba to Warri federal Road

4. Effurun round-about to Aladja uncompleted Federal Road

5. Bad federal roads leading to vital Federal economic assets such as the Ports and Refineries in Warri

6. Federal tertiary Institutions in Delta

7.Dilapidated Federal Courts and institutions in Delta State.

8. Unpaid Aladja Steel Complex workers

“These are few federal projects and interests that the Federal Government has abandoned in Delta since the return of democracy in 1999.”

According to the letter, “it is thus grossly unjust and unfair to use the recovered funds of the people of Delta State of the Niger-Delta Region for the construction of roads and bridges in other regions of Nigeria when there is a surfeit of abandoned federal projects within Delta State.”

UPU continued: “The British Government should therefore prevail on the Federal Government of Nigeria not to disposses the people of Delta State of their recovered funds.

“For these reasons, the UPU appeals to the British Government that helped to recover the funds to ensure that the recovered funds and its use should be for infrastructural development of Delta state.”

UPU also called on all well meaning stakeholders, including within and outside Delta State, principally the British government that has a long history of mutually beneficial engagement in the Niger Delta to return all stolen funds while the people of Delta state should demand for more accountability from elected leaders across board and tasked all the people of Delta state to ensure that those who have stolen and are still looting the public treasury do not have roles or influence in the politics of Delta State.

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