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Vice President Rejects Nigerian Senate Indictment on Oil Money Corruption

A Senate panel has indicted embattled vice-president Atiku Abubakar, alleging "abuse of office and abetting the diversion of about $145 million of public funds." Analysts say the report, which comes after five months of investigation by the lawmakers, further dims Abubakar's hopes of running in April's presidential election.

Garba Shehu is the spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organization. Shehu says his boss is innocent of all charges.

“Clearly it is a blatantly partisan report because the panel had ignored the massive amount of corruption the president had done in that institution alone,” he says.

He says that most of the members of the panel are supporters of the failed effort to amend the Constitution to give President Olusegun Obasanjo a third term in office.

He says, “We raised this concern even from the beginning. Of the 13 members of this panel, 10 of them had actively promoted the president’s campaign for a third term in office. Don’t forget this is the major point of disagreement between the president and the vice president. The president wanted to continue in office for life. The vice president opposed it and still opposes it.”

Garba says Abubakar did the right thing by appearing before the panel despite his misgivings about its members. “It is unfortunate that all of the evidence we put at the disposal of this committee, they could not even read anything there and they never invited the president to make an input.,” he says.