Daily Trust (Abuja)

17 January 2014

Nigeria: Abacha Loot - You Must Face Trial - supreme Court Tells Mohammed Abacha

The Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja Friday made a unanimous decision dismissing an appeal filed by Mohammed Sani Abacha, against the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) over monies looted from the federal treasury during the Abacha regime.

Mohammed Sani Abacha's appeal, challenging the over one hundred count criminal charge slammed on him at the FCT High Court, Abuja for allegedly receiving stolen money belonging to the FG, went to the Supreme Court on points of reference from the Court of Appeal.

The lead judgment in the case was delivered by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola. Other members of the panel that sat on the appeal are Justice Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, Justice Muntaka Coomasie, Justice Suleiman Galadima and Justice Kudirat Kekere Ekun. The rest are Justice Afolabi Fabiyi and Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta.

In his judgment, Justice Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen held that even if Gen. Sani Abacha was to be alive today, the immunity he enjoyed under the law and Constitution was personal to him and limited to his period of office as he can be proceeded against immediately he left office for offences committed while occupying the office of Head of State.

"His immunity, however, would not, in any circumstance cover his son, the appellant in this case so the argument is without legal foundation", the apex court held.

With this decision, Mohammed Sani Abacha's trial will now continue at the high court where he is facing trial before he went on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mohammed Sani Abacha who is the eldest surviving son of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha has continued to maintain that all the Abacha family assets were legitimately acquired. After Gen. Sani Abacha's death, the Obasanjo government implicated Abacha and his family in a wholesale looting of Nigeria's coffers.

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