FG denies plan to give $100m from Abacha’s loot to Kebbi governor

The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami has dismissed report that the Federal Government was planning to give $100m from the recovered $308m Abacha loot to the Governor of Kebbi State Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.

The minister spoke through a statement his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, on Saturday. He was reacting to a story by Bloomberg that Nigeria’s plan to hand over part of the Abacha loot to Bagudu is threatening the cooperation with the United States.

In the statement posted on Twitter, the ministry said “The government of President Buhari remained committed to the recovery of whatever funds are owed Nigeria and the government in that regard has gone to court in different countries to assert its rights as victim of corruption in order to have those assets returned to Nigeria.

“In the same manner that Nigeria is asserting its rights to the assets, there are others, including individuals, entities and countries who have rights and who have gone to court to contest the legality or otherwise of Nigeria’s claims against their assets.

“It is well known that the USA and the Bagudu family have been in court since 2014 over assets already rescinded under the 2003 Agreement. The matters are to be determined in the United Kingdom and the United States Courts.

“The Bagudu family assets in contention, which constitute a distinct and separate cause of action, do not have anything to do with the assets already recovered and being recovered under the Abacha 2014 non-prosecution agreement.

“It is therefore mischievous and pedestrian for anyone to seek to turn the law and the facts on its head on the matter of repatriation whose terms are clearly spelt out and agreed among the parties.

“The government of Nigeria remains fully committed to continued cooperation with the USA and other countries in a reciprocal manner. We urge the media and the general public to wait for the outcome of the court decisions and ongoing settlement efforts in this matter.”

It also said “The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has engaged and continues to engage with international partners, including the USA, in the recovery and return to Nigeria of stolen assets. Nigeria and the USA are continually cooperating in the recovery and return of those assets.

“This long-standing cooperation recently culminated in the successful signing of memorandum of understanding for the repatriation of over $300 million looted assets associated with General Sani Abacha.

“Recall that prior to the 2020 agreement with the USA and Island of Jersey, the Federal Government of Nigeria had signed an agreement for the return of over 300 million US Dollars in 2017 which was effectively deployed for the purpose for which it was agreed to be applied.

“The FGN is also negotiating the recovery of assets from several countries and the agreements for the recoveries and the procedure for recoveries are always presented to Federal Executive Council for approval and duly made public once the processes have been concluded.

“No third-party interest was captured in the Council memo that was approved by the Council.

“The 2017 repatriated funds were deployed to the implementation of the National Social Investment Program and is being monitored by civil society organizations across the country.

“The 2020 Agreement which will be managed by Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority will also be monitored by civil society organizations and will be used to support the completion of critical road infrastructures, namely Abuja to Kano Road, Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos to Ibadan Expressway. These projects will support socioeconomic development across the country.”

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