‘I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ABACHA LOOT.’
…flays anti-graft crusade
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, has denied knowledge of what is being described as “Abacha loot.”
Al-Mustapha spoke in Kaduna yesterday at a retreat with the Christian community, under the auspices of United Christians Leaders, Eagle Eye Forum and 40 pressure groups, where he was asked to contest for the post of president of Nigeria.He said he had challenged the government to confront him, but had failed to respond to his challenge to state when Abacha took the money abroad, whether before or while in government.
“When in December 1999 ‘Abacha loot’ was made on the pages of newspapers, some of us were very embarrassed. I am baffled that there is something called Abacha loot.
“I was interrogated in a bad manner. I was asked if I had a foreign account and I said yes, the one I opened when I went to the United Kingdom for study. In that account then, I had $3,200 and when I was leaving, I left just $10 so it will not become dormant in case I have a cause to further my studies. I said if they found any other account I was operating, they should take the money and return it to government purse and expose me to the whole world.”
According to Al-Mustapha, the fact that there are thieves does not mean that everyone that serves in government is a thief.“I asked the government of Obasanjo at that time: when you went to discover the $323 million, when was the money lodged, before or after Abacha became head of state? They should tell Nigerians.
“They are always quick to share the money to themselves. They should stop lying against the dead because it is God that will speak for him. That is the issue for another day when the record will be brought forward and Nigerians will see and understand. I’m not speaking for Abacha because I didn’t know about it. I was not consulted when he was keeping the money outside Nigeria.”
He said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was not fighting corruption but only chasing the shadow. The former CSO, who also spoke on corruption, said: “EFCC came overnight with a few equipment and personnel and started making the loudest noise. That is why I have likened it to a small monkey given a thread to arrest an elephant. The monkey is always busy looking for the elephant. It was given binoculars to look for an elephant that is so close to it, but it is busy arresting ants and abandoned the elephant that is busy destroying the animal kingdom. That is what is going on today.
“If you have to fight corruption in Nigeria, you have to tackle it from multi-faceted angles. This small structure called the EFCC is not enough to fight corruption. It requires a bigger body that has the capacity of intelligence, that can reach out to the international community to get our stolen funds starched abroad and equally prosecute, rather than relying on the regular police to do that.”
On restructuring, Al-Mustapha said it was mandatory if Nigeria must move forward, and it should start from 1999 Constitution. Al-Mustapha also canvassed removal of immunity being enjoyed by some office holders, saying it breeds impunity.
Earlier, Chairman of the Christian Leaders, Eagle Eye Forum, Pastor Aminchi Habu, said the group would stand with Al-Mustapha once he makes up his mind to run for p residency.