FoI: Kebbi deputy governor declares asset worth N353,136,378


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Yombe Samaila

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Mr Yombe Samaila, has declared his assets landed property and cash in banks, valued at N353,136,378.56 among others.

Consequent upon the declaration, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to follow the good example of Samaila, by immediately publishing their asset declaration forms.

Samaila while responding to SERAP’s suit had last week forwarded his asset declaration form to the organization. The form dated May 28, 2019, and sworn to before the High Court of Justice, Bikebbi, Kebbi State, shows that the deputy governor declared assets, including landed property and cash in banks, valued at N353,136,378.56, from which he stated that he receives N61,500,000.00 yearly as income.

SERAP had in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2020 filed in January, 2020 asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to order President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to “make public details of their assets, specifically property and income, contained in their asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office.”

In a statement dated October 4, 2020 by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization commended Samaila for demonstrating commitment to transparency and accountability, especially at a time when many government officials and institutions continue to exhibit blatant disregard for Freedom of Information requests by refusing to even acknowledge several of such requests.

SERAP said: “President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo should show leadership by immediately widely publishing their asset declaration forms, just as Samaila has rightly done. We also call on Mr Abubakar Bagudu, governor Kebbi state and other governors and their deputies to emulate and learn from Mr Samaila’s good example by immediately publishing their assets.

“Buhari and Osinbajo should stand up for transparency in asset declarations by public officers as a sign of their oft-repeated principled stand on transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s resources. This government’s stated commitment to fight corruption will ring hollow as long as Buhari and Osinbajo continue to ignore repeated requests to publish their asset declaration forms.

Samaila’s letter dated September 4, 2020, and signed on his behalf by Nura Abdullahi Koko, Director of Administration, with attached assets declaration form, read in part: “Cash in Nigerian banks: N364,420, in a bank in Lagos, which is money from my military pension. N1,471, 958.56 in another bank in Kaduna, which is money from my personal income. I have no cash in foreign banks.”

“I bought a 3-bedroom flat [upstairs] in Kebbi State through my military savings and business income in 1984, and the property is valued at N16m. I also have a 6-bedroom and 2 Guest House of 3-bedroom in Kebbi state, valued at N38 million. I have a 4-bedroom duplex in Asokoro, Abuja, which I bought in 2017 through personal income. I have no vacant/undeveloped plots.

“I have a 2-bedroom flat in Kaduna state, and the property is valued at N30m. I bought it in 2001 through savings from business income. I earn N1m yearly from the property. I also have 48 hectares of farm land in Kaduna state, as a gift from the Emir of Dande in 1983. The property is valued at N10m. I make N2.5m yearly from the property.

“I have a company named Yomed Nigeria Limited, Kaduna, which deals in air services, primary school and agriculture service equipment. The company was established in 2007, and is valued at N98 million. I make N28 million monthly as income from the company.

“I also bought CESSNA 206 Aircraft, Kaduna in 2014, and it is valued at N99.6m, and I make N30m yearly as income from this.”

“I bought a Ford Bus Caravan in 2017, valued at N1.5m; Toyota Tundra in 2012 valued at N3m; Range Rover Jeep in 2013 valued at N7m; and another Ford Bus Caravan in 2016 valued at N5.2m.”

“I have 2 set of furniture and electronics in Kaduna and Zuru, which I bought between 2013—2019, and the property is valued at N3m. My wife owns a property valued at N25 million but my children own no property. I have no government securities, no shares in and outside Nigeria.”

Recall that SERAP had in its suit asked the court to grant “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to make public their summary of assets; disclose whether they have had any reason to review and update their asset declarations submitted to the CCB, and if the declarations have been made as constitutionally and statutorily required.”

It is also sought: “a declaration that the failure of President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to provide SERAP with the requested information on their assets constitutes a breach of SERAP’s right under the FoI Act, 2011, and such further order(s) the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

According to SERAP, two states — Lagos State and Niger State — have responded to its FoI requests. But both states declined the requests to make public the assets of their governors and deputies, on the ground that “the FoI Act is inapplicable to state governments, their agencies and officials, and that only houses of assembly of states are constitutionally empowered to make laws on public records of states.”

Also, while reacting to SERAP FoI request to President Buhari, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, had said: “SERAP asking the president to declare publicly, on the basis of what law? The president will do what the law requires of him and what the law requires is that he should declare his asset which he has done. Declaring publicly is not in our laws; it can only be a voluntary thing.”

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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Source: Vanguard News.

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