Abubakar Y Ojima
Dachung Musa Bagos, a lawmaker representing Jos south/Jos east at the house of representatives, says the recovered $23 million Abacha loot should be channelled into settling the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The lawmaker spoke in a chat with Channels TV on Wednesday monitored by TheEXPLAINER.
On Tuesday, the federal government and the US reached an agreement to repatriate a new batch of funds looted by Sani Abacha, the former Nigerian head of state.
Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation, said the recovered loot, which is tagged ‘Abacha-5’, has been earmarked for the completion of the Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.
Reacting to the development, Bagos said the federal government does not carry the national assembly along in the disbursement of recovered loot.
“This is my third year in the national assembly, we have never discussed any of the recovered loot. We just sit down and we hear that the executive recovered loot and allot the same to projects that they so desire,” the lawmaker said.
“We believe that when we discuss these issues at the national assembly, [and] we appropriate those funds according to the needs of Nigeria, it is going to go a long way; not just the executive looking at it and alloting it to what they feel it should be. The constitution has given us that right.
“We have pressing needs. Like now, ASUU has been on strike and the government is trying to settle those issues.
“As a representative of the people, if I have to argue where those funds should be channelled to, I will say, ‘why can’t you channel part of this fund to ASUU so that most of the youths that are at home would go back to school?’
“But some of the areas we feel that the executive is channelling those funds are not the immediate needs of Nigerians.”
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, with funding, welfare and revitalisation of Nigerian universities as some of the major issues for the industrial action.
The strike has entered its seventh month with no end in sight following several collapses in negotiation between the union and the government.