Nigeria: Govt Signs Tripartite Agreement to Repatriate $318m Abacha Loot

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama deliver statements to the press, at the Department of State, in Washington D.C., on February 4, 2020.
5 February 2020

The Federal Government, the United States of America and the Island of Jersey-a British enclave, have signed a tripartite agreement to help repatriate another tranche of over $318 million funds allegedly looted by late former Head of State, Sani Abacha, back to Nigeria.

This was disclosed at the ongoing 5th Session of the US-Nigeria Binational Commission, BNC, holding at the US Department of State in Washington DC, United States, as part of measures to deepen the war against corruption and asset recovery to Nigeria.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, who led the Nigerian delegation to the session, said legal processes were ongoing to bring back the looted assets, even as he recalled that a similar process in 2018 led to the recovery and repatriation of $322 million allegedly stashed away by the late Head of State.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who signed the tripartite agreement on behalf of Nigeria, told reporters in an interview that the pact would hasten the return of the loot back to Nigeria, stressing that the funds would be invested in infrastructure development in the country.

"By the agreement of the parties, the looted assets will be deployed into construction of roads, including the Abuja -Kano Express way, Lagos-Ibadan Express way and indeed the Second Niger Bridge," he said.

Malami noted that the most important aspect of the agreement was the clear demonstration of the belief of the international community in the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari to claim Nigeria's looted funds stashed away in various banks in the West and other parts of the world.

"It is a clear demonstration of the accountability and transparency of President Muhammadu Buhari's government.

"It's a clear demonstration that the international confidence is further restored dealing with Nigeria as it relates with transparency and accountability, taking into consideration that before now in 2018, we have recovered $322 million from Switzerland on the understanding that the funds should be deployed to social investment programme for which it was targeted," he added.

At press time last night, there was no official reaction from the US but a source within the US Statement Department, who preferred anonymity, said: "The US will continue to support the Nigerian government in the war against corruption as well as other key areas of focus of the Bi-National Commission, which includes the fight against terrorism, democracy and good governance, economic development and food security."

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