US will turn over $23 million looted by former military ruler Abacha to Nigeria

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Last Updated on 1 week by Mukesh

At a signing ceremony on Tuesday, officials announced that the United States would return to Nigeria the $23 million that former military dictator Sani Abacha had seized. 

In recent years, Nigeria has come to various agreements on the return of stolen money. From 1993 until his death in 1998, Abacha oversaw the most populous and significant oil exporting country in Africa. Transparency International claimed that he syphoned off up to $5 billion in taxpayer funds during that time. He was never put on trial.

The money was in UK accounts, according to US Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, but was discovered and blocked by American officials. She continued by saying that, with the most recent agreement included, the US had consented to return more than $334.7 million associated with Abacha. 

The money will be utilised for infrastructure projects, such as the Abuja-Kano road, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the second Niger bridge, under the supervision of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), according to Attorney General Abubakar Malami.

As per Malami, “The president’s mandate to my office is to ensure that all international recoveries are transparently invested and monitored by civil society organizations to compete for these three projects within the agreed timeline.” 

Nigeria must spend monies returned from funds taken by Abacha on approved public projects, the U.S. Justice Department has previously stated, or be obliged to “replace” it.

(with inputs from agencies)

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