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Court orders Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari govts to disclose details of $5bn Abacha loot spending

Court orders Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari govts to disclose details of $5bn Abacha loot spending

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the disclosure of the spending details of about USD$5 billion Abacha loot recovered by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.

The court ordered the government of President Bola Tinubu to “disclose the exact amount of money stolen by General Sani Abacha from Nigeria, and the total amount of Abacha loot recovered and all agreements signed on same by the governments of former presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan and Buhari.”

The judgment was delivered last week by Justice James Kolawole Omotosho following a Freedom of Information suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/407/2020, brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

In his judgment, Justice Omotosho held that, “In the final analysis, the application by SERAP is meritorious and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance is hereby ordered to furnish SERAP with the full spending details of about $5bn Abacha loot within 7 days of this judgment.”

What is Abacha loot?

The term “Abacha loots” refers to the funds that were embezzled and illegally acquired by the late Nigerian military dictator, General Sani Abacha, during his regime from 1993 to 1998. Sani Abacha is estimated to have stolen several billion dollars from the Nigerian government and stashed the money in foreign bank accounts.

After his death in 1998, efforts were made by the Nigerian government, international organizations, and foreign governments to recover the looted funds. A significant portion of the funds has been successfully repatriated to Nigeria over the years, although some of it remains unrecovered.

The recovery process involved international cooperation and legal proceedings to trace the funds, freeze bank accounts, and repatriate the money back to Nigeria. Several countries, including the United States, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, played important roles in the recovery efforts. They froze and eventually returned the stolen funds to Nigeria’s government.

The repatriated funds have been used for various purposes, such as funding infrastructure projects, social programs, and developmental initiatives in Nigeria. The recovery of the Abacha loots has been a long and complex process, and efforts to track down and repatriate the remaining funds are ongoing.

It’s worth noting that the term “Abacha loots” specifically refers to the funds embezzled by General Sani Abacha. However, corruption and mismanagement of public funds have been persistent issues in Nigeria beyond the Abacha era, and efforts to tackle corruption in the country continue to this day.


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