You’ll return Abacha’s loot if stolen again – U.S tells Nigeria

The United States on Wednesday urged the Nigerian Government to effectively utilise the $321m Gen. Sani Abacha loot repatriated to Nigeria as it must be placed in an account and must not be stolen.

The US said Nigeria would be made to replace the money if stolen.

Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson for the US State Department, said in a statement this was one of the agreements between the US, Nigeria and the Island of Jersey, where the funds are being kept.

“The funds will be used by the Nigerian Independent Sovereign Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria.

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“To ensure that the funds are used responsibly and for the good of the nation, the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight, and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets.

“This return reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner.”

The US said the arrangement was consistent with the commitments both the US and Nigeria made under the principles agreed to at the 2017 Global Forum on Asset Recovery co-hosted by the US and the United Kingdom.

The statement said, “This agreement is a symbol of the weight that the United States government places on the fight against corruption. We welcome President Buhari’s personal commitment to that fight, and we will continue to support civil society and other Nigerian efforts to combat corruption at all levels. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”

Abacha, who ruled Nigeria between 1993 and 1998, is believed to have diverted over $4bn from the nation’s treasury.

Over $1bn has been recovered from his loot so far, Punch reports.

However, there have been rumours that the funds have not been properly managed by successive governments.