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Saturday 31 October 2015

We Won’t Declare Assets Publicly, Say Ministers

We Won’t Declare Assets Publicly, Say Ministers

President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers-designate are unwilling to declare their assets publicly,Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

Some of the ministers-designate said they were only bound by the constitution to declare their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau and not publicly.

Buhari and the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, have declared their assets publicly, but the Presidency recently said it would not compel ministers to do the same.

Many of the ministers-designate insisted that they did not have to do more than is required by the constitution, irrespective of Buhari and Osinbajo’s actions. Meanwhile, only a few of Buhari’s ministers-designate are willing to emulate him and Osinbajo.

One of the ministers-designate, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril, from Nasarawa State, said he was under no obligation to declare his assets publicly when assigned portfolio.

Jibril, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Ibrahim Umar, said, “It is not necessary to emulate Buhari and Osinbajo.”

After several telephone calls to get the view of the minister-designate from Niger State, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, on the issue were not answered, our correspondent sent him a text message, which he also did not reply.

Later, Bwari however answered a subsequent call that was placed on his number, saying, “I got your text, and I’m in a meeting right now. Thank you.”

The minister-designate from Oyo State, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, was also noncommittal, saying the constitution does not make it compulsory.

The minister-designate from Ondo State, Prof. Cladius Daramola, declined to comment on whether he would declare his assets publicly, saying he had no assets to declare.

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Daramola said, “I have no comment. I don’t have assets; I am a teacher and my children are my only assets.”

Daramola’s counterpart from Cross River State, Usani Uguru Usani, also declined to comment on the issue of public declaration of assets.

“Until I take office, I will not speak to the press,” he said.

Prof. Isaac Adewole, a nominee from Osun State, expressed his readiness to declare his assets publicly if required to do so.

Efforts to speak with Chief Audu Ogbe, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mr. James Ocholi were not successful as they neither responded to calls nor text messages sent to their mobile telephone lines.

When one of our correspondents spoke to Mr. Hakeem Bello, the media adviser to Fashola, he said he did not know his principal’s plan but would find out if he was able to reach him later.

However, other sources close to Fashola toldSaturday PUNCHthat the former Lagos State governor would not declare his asset publicly to avoid controversy that might stem from the action.

The nominee from Edo State, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, declined to comment on the issue in a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents on Thursday.

However, the minister-designate from Ogun State, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, also expressed readiness to declare her assets publicly.

She responded with “of course” when our correspondent sent her a text message to get her view on the issue.

Mr. Solomon Dalung from Plateau State said he would declare his assets soon. He toldSaturday PUNCHthat he had already collected his assets declaration form, saying “Very soon. I have collected the form.”

On whether minister-designate from Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, will declare his assets publicly if confirmed as a minister, the APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Mr. Chris Finebone, described the decision as personal.

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