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How we’ll spend Abacha loot – Presidency

Anthony Iwuoma

The Presidency has revealed plans to deploy the recently-released Abacha loot to ongoing construction works across the country.

It cited the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in the South-West, Abuja-Kano road in the North and the Second Niger Bridge in the eastern part of the country, adding that it would also invest some of the funds in the Mambilla Power Project.

Nigeria is to receive $321 million as part of money looted by former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, following an agreement it signed with  the Island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency but self-governed state, with United States government.

“On Monday, May 4, 2020, some $311 million US Dollars – stolen from the citizens of Nigeria during the Abacha regime – were safely returned to our country from the United States,” Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a statement.

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“These funds have already been allocated, and will be used in full, for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development: The Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways – creating tens of thousands of Nigerian construction jobs and local skills, which can then be useful in future projects.

“Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity to some three million homes – over ten million citizens – in our country.

“The receipt of these stolen monies – and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.

“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – are already being used for the government’s free school feeding scheme, a stipend for millions of disadvantaged citizens, and grain grants for those in severe food hardship.

“The latest return is a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

“Without cooperation both from the UK Government, the US executive branch and US Congress, we would not have achieved the return of these funds at all.

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“For years many countries deemed successive Nigerian administrations as too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies – so they did not return the funds.

“Today, US, UK and other jurisdictions have found the partnership with the nation of Nigeria they can finally trust.

The Buhari Administration is committed to – and is enacting – total and zero tolerance to corruption in politics and public administration.

The days when government was seen and used by the political class as their personal ATM to empty are over.

The time of better governance and clean hands in the affairs of the state is here to stay,” the statement concluded.