The United States, U.S. Department of Justice, DoJ, announced on Friday, November 18, 2022, that it has repatriated more than $20.6 million worth of assets linked to former Head of State, the late Gen Sani Abacha, and his associates.
The DoJ said in a statement on Thursday, November 17, 2022, that the transfer of funds “is in accordance with an August 23 agreement between the governments to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to kleptocracy of the former Nigerian dictator.
“The forfeited assets represent corrupt monies laundered during and after the military regime of General Abacha, who became head of state in Nigeria through a military coup on November 17, 1993.”
The transfer of funds ultimately stems from a 2014 judgement in the District of Columbia, ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500 million worth of assets linked to the former dictator.
“The complaint filed in this case alleges that Gen. Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate, and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others.”
The case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative by prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with the FBI.
Under the agreement, the United States agreed to transfer 100 percent of net forfeited assets to Nigeria for use in three critical infrastructure projects approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In 2020 the DoJ repatriated over $311.7 million in forfeited assets to Nigeria.
The latest transfer brings the total amount repatriated in the case to approximately $332.4 million.
Strike: Channel $23 Million Abacha Loot To Education – ASUU Asks FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has asked the Federal Government to channel the recovered $23 million Abacha loot to meet its demands.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke made the call on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, while decrying the continued closure of public universities as a result of the protracted strike by lecturers.
Last Tuesday, the Federal Government and the US signed an agreement to repatriate a new batch of funds looted by the former Nigerian head of state, Sani Abacha.
Amid the government’s plan to utilise the money for the completion of the Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge, the ASUU President believes the current administration would have deployed the recovered money to education if it truly loves the sector.
Weighing on whether the Abacha loot should be diverted to the nation’s education, Osodeke said: “Definitely. Let’s use a typical man as an example, you have a house and your child is sick seriously and you were paid money that you were not expecting. Where will you put the money?”
“That child should be the first thing you will treat. Is it not? Before you will start thinking about how you are going to buy clothes.
“Your universities are shut for six months. You now have access to a fund you were not expecting, if you really love education, where should you put the money? In that particular place, they said they don’t have money. We need to love this country.”
ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at their demands.
Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.
The university teachers are seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others. Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock.
One of such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission, NUC, in Abuja.
Source: The Nation