WASHINGTON D.C, USA – Emmanuel Ogebe, a prominent Washington-based lawyer and human rights activist, has called on the Nigerian Senate to reject the appointment of former Governor Atiku Bagudu as a federal minister, citing allegations of financial impropriety.
In a petition on Friday, August 4, 2023, Ogebe accused Bagudu of involvement in the late military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha’s multibillion-dollar loot, €200 million of which is still subject to ongoing litigation in the United States District Court of DC.
Ogebe argued that Bagudu’s association with the case disqualifies him from holding a position of public trust.
The petition reads in part: “I firmly believe that his record of financial misappropriation per his participation in Gen. Abacha’s multibillion dollar looting disqualifies him from holding such a position of public trust.” It continues, “Unfortunately, Mr Bagudu falls short of meeting these essential criteria.”
Key reasons outlined in the petition include:
- Financial Malfeasance: Ogebe asserts that Bagudu has a history of financial misconduct around the globe, emphasizing an ongoing settlement negotiation related to the Abacha loot in the U.S.
- Ongoing Litigation: The unresolved legal matter casts doubt on Bagudu’s ability to fulfill his duties effectively and responsibly.
- Visa Restrictions: Bagudu reportedly faces visa restrictions, which could limit his ability to function effectively as a Federal Minister.
- False Claim of Funds: The Bagudu family’s efforts to block the return of the stolen funds to Nigeria are highlighted as evidence of his unsuitability for federal office.
Ogebe stressed that the appointment of Bagudu could “undermine public trust” and “tarnish the reputation of the office he holds,” making Nigeria a “laughing stock in the international community.”
The Senate has not yet responded to Ogebe’s petition, and it remains to be seen how it will impact the confirmation process.
The allegations brought forward by Ogebe raise serious ethical and legal questions, and the Senate’s decision could set a precedent for evaluating future appointments in the country.
Critics and transparency advocates will likely closely watch the developments in this case, as it touches on broader issues of political accountability, corruption, and the commitment of the Nigerian government to uphold the principles of integrity and good governance.