Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, is currently being remanded in a correctional centre after being found guilty of fraud charges in a Federal High Court in Lagos. He was charged alongside a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Jones Udeogo, and his company Alok Nig. Ltd. The court ordered that the companies assets be forfeited to the Federal Government which has generated some controversy. Daily Trust spoke to some Nigerians on where the ex-governors loot should go.
Tricia Iwuoha, Owerri
Without mincing words, that money must and I emphasize must be returned to Abia people. It must also be monitored to ensure that it’s judiciously spent.
It is elementary reasoning that the money belongs to Abia people and should be given back to them. It does not belong to the federal government but Abia state government.
Sabiu Ibrahim Musa, 53, Plateau State Chairman Africa Democratic Congress (ADC),Jos
As far as I am concerned the funds belong to Abia State and not the federal government. It was not the federal government’s money he looted but that of Abia State. Kalu was not the federal government staff when the looting took place a public office holder of a state. So I suggest the money be given to the state to solve the many developmental challenges there like education, health, roads, among others. More importantly, a referendum should be conducted so that Abia State citizens themselves should say what they want the money used for. And all these claims or fear that the money will be re-looted I don’t buy into that. Let them be given their money and if they like let them re-loot it. Even at the federal government level, there is looting going on. But I believe that should they re-loot the money again, the long arm of the law will keep catching up with them continuously until they get it right.
Steve Aluko, 50, Director North Central Zone, Civil Liberty Organization, Jos
Going by the judgement, it is clear that it was when he was the governor of the state that the said money was allocated to the state. So the money belongs to the state and should be accrued back to the state. It is the state that was denied the development/infrastructure the money would have brought and not the federal government. Even during the allocation of the monies the ones that are meant for the federal government remains with the federal government and the ones meant for states goes to the states. There is no room for any controversy here because the judgement is clear. The money belongs to Abia State and it should be returned back to the state to use it for developmental purposes. It’s just like in the case of the Local Government Councils (LGCs) for instance Should any local government Chairman commits fraud and embezzles funds meant for the LGC, when such monies are recovered they should be returned to the LGC and not to the state government. So it applies here; the federal government should not overstep its boundaries and should not set a bad precedent. Though some people still argue that the federal government should be in position of the money so that it will not be re-looted. But I don’t agree with that argument. Even the federal government has been looting this country. The fact remains that there is a clear cut outline in the budget on what that money was meant for, and the budget should be consulted in this respect so that the money should be appropriated accordingly. So the money should be released to the state and used for its original purpose. All the federal government should do is to put credible machinery in place to ensure proper checks and balances so that the money is not re-looted.
Lawrence Njoku, Aba
It is very sad to note that this is the way our money in Abia state is being frittered away. It did hot start neither will it end with Orji Kalu. All the former governors, including the present one, must be investigated and their loot recovered and given back to Abia State. Concerning the one in question, that money must be returned to Abia people without delay because it belongs to the people.
Evelyn Adikwu, Media Consultant, Abuja
Kalu’s loot should be for Nigeria. Because it is Nigeria’s fund that was used. Although it was an allocation made for Abia, he also held positions in Nigeria. If the FG will maximize it. The state government might not handle the fund well if it is returned to them and we must all agree that immediately after office the FG will start investigations on whoever was in charge of it and the person too might use it for their gain. So from my option, I think the FG is the less evil of the two.
Ori Martins, Owerri
In the first place, the litigation process is still on and it has not been established that Orji Kalu looted the state treasury while he was the state governor. He still ha’s windows of redress, but if at the end of the day, it is established that he misappropriated the resource’s of Abba state, the money should be returned to Abia state because the money belongs to Abia state government.
Haruna Yusuf Abba, Advocate of youth governance, transparency and accountability / Student 25, Jos
The money is for Abia State and should be given to them so that it can be used for developmental projects in the state, especially the local government areas and rural communities where there would surely be deplorable healthcare system, Public schools, etc. So the federal government should release the money to them because even some of the loots they (the federal government) have been recovering we don’t know what has been happening to them and they are yet to be accounted for. That makes their fight against corruption questionable. Finally, should the money be given to Abia State however, it should be well monitored to ensure that it is spent rightly.