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87 migrant bodies wash up on Libya beach

Written by Maritime First
  • As Osinbajo Insists: FG Not Investigating 2015 Campaign Funds

The number of bodies of migrants recovered on a Libyan beach since the weekend has risen to 87, a media official from the coastal city of Sabratha said on Monday.

The bodies began washing up on the city’s beach west of Tripoli on Friday, the official said.

On Saturday, 41 bodies were found by a group of volunteers trained by the city council and sent to a morgue for DNA testing before being buried.

The rest were found over the weekend, the official added.

Illegal migration from Libya booms in the summer months when the Mediterranean is generally calm and traffickers pack unsafe boats with migrants desperate to start a new life in Europe.

People smugglers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi to boost their lucrative business.

They cram migrants into boats that are small and unsafe for the perilous journey to Italy just 300 kilometres (190 miles) from Libya’s shores.

Thousands of migrants try each year to make the sea crossing but many drown.

More than 10,000 migrants bound for Europe, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2014, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In the meantime, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, denied that the Federal Government’s war against corruption was targeted at the opposition, saying the government was not investigating 2015 campaign funds as was being insinuated.

He said what the government was doing was to probe how money meant for public good was diverted into promoting people into public office.

Speaking at the 2016 annual conference of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Abuja, Osinbajo, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said it was discovered that most of the diverted funds were not even used to fund political parties activities, but only found their way into personal pockets.

He described the act as outright theft, which cannot be accepted in any decent society.

Osinbajo vowed that never again would monies meant for essential services in the country be used for camping purposes, noting also that agencies of government would never again be used to favour any political party into winning elections.

He said: “Let me respond to those who say that the current war against corruption by the Federal Government is directed at opposition, it is not so.

“Security Chiefs and the anti-corruption agencies are not even investigating campaign funds. No, it has not yet got to that. What the government is doing is to ensure that monies meant for essential services are not diverted into promoting candidates into offices.

“It is a very pitiable situation that when we have national emergency like the crisis in the North-East of the country on our hands and money is voted to fight insurgency and that money is diverted into campaign purposes.

“You all need to know what our soldiers were going through in the battle front. Some of them were going into war with just bathroom slippers on their feet, many of them were surviving on just Indomie noodles. Those were unacceptable in the military.

“Some went to battle with just 10 bullets in their guns; some went into battle with obsolete equipment; some went into battle without anything at all and we expected them to fight insurgents.

“Thousands upon thousands of our people died in the course of the insurgency and when we got into government and investigated why this was so, we found out that the sum of $15 billion voted for equipping the soldiers were shared by some people. This is unacceptable in any democracy. This is what we are investigating.

“We want the narrative to change. So, when people were saying we want to obliterate opposition and that is what we are investigating, it is not so.

“Let’s even grant the possibility that the money was misappropriated for campaign, most of the money we found were in personal accounts. They were not even used for campaigns. Those that were not used in buying mansions were used in buying and building plazas across Abuja

“This is outright theft and it cannot be acceptable in any decent society. So, we want to assure you that never again, by the time we finish our investigation, will money meant for essential services in government be used for campaign purposes; never again will agencies of government be used in favour of any party for the purpose of winning election.

“It is you who are members of this organisation (IPAC) that can assist in educating the general public that these are the kind of things that we all should work towards so that tomorrow, if the people do not find  APC as the right party to govern the country, they go to the polls gently and quietly and elect a new party to take over the government.

“Politics and elections should not be war; they should not be for the depleting of the natural resources. We should go there, canvass our positions, let the people know our manifestos and then, let them vote freely.”

MSN with additional report from Tribune

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Maritime First