U.S. to return $23m Abacha loot to Nigeria

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United States (US) government has agreed to return the $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria.

The US government signed an agreement in respect to this yesterday, at the office of Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Malami explained that the decision to return the stolen funds, which is tagged, ‘Abacha-5’, was a product of series of negotiations and meetings between Nigeria, the US Department of Justice and the United Kingdom (UK) National Crime Agency.

The AGF stated:

“It is worthy to note that, in line with the terms of this agreement, Mr. President had already approved the funds to be utilised for the ongoing Presidential Development Infrastructural Funds (PIDF), projects namely: Abuja-Kano Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge under the supervision of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).”

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mary Leonard, US Ambassador to Nigeria, said:

“The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized these funds in response to General Abacha and his associates’ violation of US laws, when they laundered these assets to the US and into accounts in the UK.

“These actions were a flagrant breach of the Nigerian people’s trust. But today is the result of an extensive and high-level cooperation between the US, UK and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make Nigerian people whole.

“This agreement is also a kind of collaboration that our government must continue in order to right wrongs committed under the previous regimes.

“Combined with $311.7 million seized and repatriated, with the assistance of the Bailiwick of Jersey and the government of Nigeria in 2020, this repatriation brings the total amount of funds repatriated in this case by the US to more than $334.7 million.”