Yar’ Adua makes public his assets declaration

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June 29, 2007/ The Guardian

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday made public "photocopies of his duly and honestly completed assets declaration form."

The gesture was the first by any of Nigeria's helmsmen since independence in 1960. According to the details released to journalists by the Special Adviser to the President (Communications), Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Yar'Adua has a total assets value of N856, 452,892. These include a total of N19 million owned by the First Lady, Turai.

His total liabilities being outstanding loans secured with the Unity Bank Plc, Imani Estate branch, Maitama,Abuja, is put at N88,793,269.77

The President's assets include remunerations, savings, campaigns, post-campaign contributions, buildings and vacant plots of land, farms and orchard, cash at hand and vehicles. The President disclosed that he has no foreign account or assets. The bulk of his assets were listed under the remunerations, savings, campaigns, post campaign contributions and 29 campaign vehicles located in Katsina, his home state and Abuja .

All the assets are as they stood as at yesterday, 28 June 2007. The total yearly income is put at N18.7 million, while his wife has a total yearly income of N132,000. The release of the documents, Adeniyi said, is consistent with the President's campaign pledge. Yar'Adua gave assurance that he would work with the leadership of the National Assembly "to see what can be done to make assets declaration an effective weapon in the fight against corruption and abuse of office."

Adeniyi said that the President released the documents in spite of the contrary advice of the Code of Conduct Bureau. "The President notified the Bureau of his intention to make the form available to the public in fulfillment of his campaign pledge, which was borne out of his conviction that the war against corruption cannot have meaning until those at the helms of affairs begin to live by example. The Bureau, while appreciating the noble intention of the President, counselled against the move on the grounds that such an action from the number one citizen would put pressure on other categories of public officers to do same, even when the constitution makes the exercise a confidential matter."

Adeniyi continued: "The dilemma of the President in the last four weeks has therefore been where to strike a balance between the well-meaning concerns of the Bureau, and following his conviction that his campaign pledge to Nigerians is a solemn commitment. Having weighed the two sides, the President has come to the conclusion that since he will not be breaking any law, he cannot go back on his promise to the nation."

A breakdown of the assets declaration shows that Yar'Adua has a total of N43,702,892.43 as cash at bank, being remuneration, savings, campaign and post-campaign contributions lodged with the Bank PHB. Details show that while a total of N26,602,681.00 stands as credit at the Bank PHB, Nagogo Road , KatsinaState branch; N12,000,264.21 is in the Apapa, Lagos State branch of the same bank.

Also, a total of N4,999,947.22 is at the head office of the bank in Kaduna. The President declared N7.5 million as cash in hand. This was derived from savings, campaign and post-campaign contributions. The President declared a total of N88,793,269.77 as his liabilities, being cash in Nigerian banks as loans and debit at the Imani Estate, Maitama, Abuja branch of Unity Bank Plc (formerly Intercity Bank).

These are in two accounts of N26,817,362.19 and another N61,975,907.58. Yar'Adua also declared a total assets value of N577,000,000 under buildings, vacant and undeveloped plots sections. This includes the Yar'Adua family compound at Yar'Adua Quarters in Katsina State , valued at N105,000,000. This was acquired through inheritance in November 1997.

There is also a multi-storey building at A8 Wuse 2, Abuja with total value of N212,000,000. The land was granted by the Federal Government to him in 1988. Again, there is a duplex at Malali, Kaduna State with a value of N120,000,000. According to the President, the building, originally a three-bedroom bungalow, was a gift from his late elder brother, Major-General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua.

There is another seven-bedroom duplex at 2, Lema Jubril Close valued at N90,000,000 that was built from savings in 1987. The President also declared that he has a vacant plot at Asokoro New Layout in Abuja valued at N50,000,000. This was granted by the Federal Government to him in 1998. He also declared two farms worth N25,000,000 in Katsin aState . They include the one at Ruwan Godiya in Faskari Local Council of Katsina State valued at N10,000,000. This was acquired in 1982.

Another farmland and orchad is also located at Ajiwa, Batagarawa Local Council in Katsina State and is worth N15,000,000. It was acquired in 1993. Under shares, debentures and other securities in and outside Nigeria, President Yar'Adua declared that he has 2,000,000 units of shares of Habib Bank acquired in 1998 which is in the process of being converted to Bank PHB; 100,000 units of shares of Intercity Bank Plc also in the process of conversion to Unity Bank Plc and another 100,000 units of shares of Muradi Hotels Limited.

While disclosing that he has vehicles worth N181,250,000, the President stated that he has 29 new cars worth N174,700,000 in both Katsina and Abuja that he described as campaign vehicles, adding that he owns a Honda Accord car worth N350,000 and a Mercedes Benz worth another N6,500,000.

The President, who went a step further to declare the assets of his wife and First Lady, Hajiya Turai, stated that she has a total asset of N19,000,000 made up of three local houses worth N1,5000,000 acquired in 1998; one twin bungalow valued at N15,000,000 located in Kofar Kaura Layout in Katsina State acquired in 2002 and three vacant plots in Katsina acquired in 2003 worth N2,500,000. He also disclosed that household furniture in Katsina that he acquired when he was a director of Habib Bank is worth N3,000,000.

The press briefing was Adeniyi's first at the Presidential Villa Abuja since his appointment about three weeks ago. He also disclosed that "the President is equally interested in discussing with the National Assembly leadership on the Freedom of Information Bill, which lapsed with the last administration, with a view to ensuring its quick passage in pursuit of his determination to instil transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business."

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