The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the repatriation of Abacha’s loot from United States of America (USA) and enjoined the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, under President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure judicious use of funds in areas that could transform the dwindling fortunes of the country.
In a statement issued by the Centre on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “We received the news from the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to the effect that about USD311.7 Million (Three Hundred and Eleven Million Dollars/ N1.17trn) was finally repatriated by the American government only recently. We would recall that the official process and agitation for the return of these looted funds goes as far back as 2014, while negotiations for the repatriation Commenced, shortly after the ascension into office of the current government.
“It is noteworthy that General Abacha (rtd) was a maximum military ruler who governed Nigeria from 1993 to 1994 after the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections that were later officially annulled by the Military. As at the last count, over USD3bn (Three Billion American Dollars) have been repatriated from various countries that include: Switzerland, UK, etc. Incidentally, nothing tangible could be said to have happened to the people of this country even with all the looted funds being recovered or repatriated from both within and outside the country since the advent of the civil rule and under the current dispensation as the country continues to run a mono-cultural economy with the price of oil nose-diving almost to a ridiculous level of loss at current rate; while an average Nigerian continues to live below the UNDP (United Nations Development Plans) suggested level of USD2 (Two American Dollars) per day. This is more hearty-rending as the annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate of the country remains at barely 2.5 percent.
“The level of relooting of such repatriated funds became so worrisome and a cause for regrets that THE US government was reported to have insisted that Nigeria should be ready to ‘replace’ the over USD300mn it returned if the fund was misused. This is so as previously repatriated funds continue to develop wings and find their ways into private pockets while the country laments its collective woes. We therefore, lend our voice in requesting for the judicious use of these huge capital, both on social provisions of amenities that could ameliorate the unsuitable conditions of majority Nigerians that have been so far, worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, and in enhancing certain capital projects that should have a positive roll-over on the national economy and infrastructure on the long run. We also pledge our commitment and readiness in providing monitoring and oversight roles towards assisting government in achieving openness and accountability at the end of utilization of the latest repatriated funds.”
The CACOL Boss added, “The political class in Nigeria needs not look far on why the country is still a far cry from what it is supposed to be. This is because of the pathological despoliation of the nation’s meager resources that condemn it to a wanton life of subsistent living and largely an agrarian economy rather than an industrial and developed economy that should be at the forefront in changing the overall fortunes of the black African nations in global reckoning.”