President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice president, Namadi Sambo, have been directed by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to declare their assets.
Moreover, 29 governors, 42 ministers, 109 senators and 360 House or Representatives members were ordered to do the same, The Punch reports.
The officials were said to have been given a 30-day deadline to return the completed Assets Declaration Forms.
Kolade Omoyola, the CCB acting secretary, last Tuesday noted that “political office holders (had) to declare their assets on assumption and vacation of office in accordance with Paragraph II of the 5th Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended”.
The Bureau representative also issued a warning that those who fail to declare their assets, as required by the law, “shall attract on conviction any or all of the following: (a) Removal from office (b) Disqualification from holding any public office, (c) Forfeiture to the state any property acquired in abuse of office or dishonesty”.
It was gathered that only seven senators and 40 representatives had submitted their forms so far.
Tony Okocha, a Rivers state official, said that Governor Rotimi Amaechi would soon submit the completed form:
“The Governor Rotimi Amaechi that I know will submit his form to the Bureau very soon. He has no skeleton in his cupboard and has nothing to hide anywhere in Nigeria and anywhere in the world.”
Jacob Edi, the special adviser to the Kogi state governor Idris Wada, said that the governor, and all the other political appointees in the state subject to the law, had submitted the forms. The Edo state governor Godswill Akpabio had submitted the form before he was sworn in, his aide said.
A representative of the Oyo state governor said that Abiola Ajimobi “certainly will” declare his assets.
The late Musa Yar’Adua is the only Nigerian president who has declared his assets. Muhammadu Buhari, the president-elect, also vowed to openly declare his assets and liabilities after taking office.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan last year refused to make such a move. He explained he had already done this while being deputy to Yar’Adua. He claimed in the course of the third presidential media chat:
“The issue of public assets declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticise me from heaven. When I was the vice-president, that matter came up, and I told the former President (late Musa Yar’Adua) that let’s not start something that would make us play into the hands of people and create an anomalous situation in the country.
“The law is clear. A public officer should declare his assets, and if there are issues, then the relevant agencies would have a basis to assess whether you have amassed wealth or not. When it is said that people should declare their assets in public, it is not only the president or the vice-president; it includes everybody, including ministers.
“When I was a governor in Bayelsa State for about a year before becoming vice-president, I was investigated thoroughly. I have nothing to hide. But because I was under somebody and it was becoming an issue, because of the media, and because my boss had declared, it was said that the vice-president must. I declared, not because I wanted to.
“Initially, I said they can talk about it from morning to night, I will not. It is not proper. If one amends the law to say that only the president and the vice-president should declare assets publicly, fine. But, presently, everybody who is holding political office is expected to and I say it is not right.”
In another development General Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), the former defence minister, yesterday advised Muhammadu Buhari to probe President Jonathan’s administration over the $60 billion debt the new administration will inherit.
According to Daily Trust, Danjuma lamented:
“It is disheartening to know that the incoming government of Buhari will have to contend with a debt of over $60billion and there is nothing to show for this huge debt.
“Well, we would know what happened to these monies, because I believe that the Buhari administration has to, and should, in national interest, investigate the administration so that we would know what happened.”