The United States Government has warned the Nigerian government over the $321m sum allegedly looted by former dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha. The US says the loot set to be repatriated to Nigeria must not be stolen or re-looted. Further, it has warned that Nigeria would be made to replace the Abacha loot, if stolen. Additionally, it has advised the Nigerian government to ensure that the money is domiciled in an account.
This was disclosed by the spokesperson of the US State Department, Morgan Ortagus. In a statement released by the State Department; the US disclosed that the foregoing was one of the agreements reached between the US and Nigeria; as well as the Island of Jersey, where the Abacha loot are being kept.
“The funds will be used by the Nigerian Independent Sovereign Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria. To ensure that the funds are used responsibly and for the good of the nation; the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight; and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud; to the account established to hold the returned assets,’’ the statement reads.
Additionally, the US insists that the agreement signifies the emphasis it places on the war against corruption.
Furthermore, it expressed its determination to continue to support Nigeria’s fight against corruption; noting that it is an investment in Nigeria’s future.
“This agreement is a symbol of the weight that the United States government places on the fight against corruption. We welcome President Buhari’s personal commitment to that fight; and we will continue to support civil society and other Nigerian efforts to combat corruption at all levels. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”
In addition, the US revealed that the return of the Abacha loot was consistent with the commitments between itself; and Nigeria made under the principles agreed to at the 2017 Global Forum on Asset Recovery. Equally important, the forum was co-hosted by the US and the United Kingdom.
“This return reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has disclosed that the Abacha loot will be spent on capital projects; namely the repair of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, as well as the Abuja-Kano Road and Second Niger Bridge.
This was disclosed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN). Malami stated this during the signing of the tripartite agreement with the US and Island of New Jersey on Tuesday.