About $300 million which is believed to be part of the national fortune allegedly stolen by General Sani Abacha has found its way back to Nigeria.
This time, stolen funds which are stacked away abroad are coming from the United States under the watch of President Donald Trump.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria this week confirmed Washington’s decision to return the said funds.
His confirmation came after the Buhari administration had acknowledged receipt of $311 million last week.
The Ambassador also disclosed that part of the stolen funds which the Nigerian authorities have been chasing abroad are being warehoused in France and the United Kingdom.
France and Britain are two major European powers which share historic ties with Africa.
In the United Kingdom, a fierce legal battle over the release of what has come to be tagged as the ‘Abacha loot’ has already commenced.
Washington’s gesture in releasing the money suggests a significant turn around in US-Nigeria relations.
China has strongly emerged as a major player in the continent, developing partnerships that are providing vital support for fledgling African economies, including Nigeria’s.
Relations between the US and Nigeria appear to have drifted significantly, with the African nation turning increasing attention in the direction of China for the provision of infrastructure.
China has seemingly filled most of the space vacated by Western nations after many years of neo-colonialist control, thus securing big and profitable markets, especially within the African world.
With China’s economic expansion becoming a huge threat to the existing order, most Western strategists have been pushing for a change of attitude towards the developing world by the West.
Washington’s release of the Abacha loot is likely to have far reaching impacts on Nigeria’s quest for much needed funds to plug yawning gaps left by the collapse of oil prices.
General Sani Abacha had died in mysterious circumstances while serving as Military Head of State.
Since his death, billions of dollars belonging to Africa’s most populous nation have been repatriated from bank vaults abroad.
In 1998, $750m was recovered from the Abacha loot. $64 million was returned in the year 2000 while $1.2bn made it back 2002.
In 2003, the sum of $248 million was repatriated in two tranches; $461million in 2005; $44million in 2006; $227 million in 2014 and $322 million in 2017 while the sum of £211million was returned in 2019.
Washington’s decision to give the Nigerian authorities access to $311 million held by it might pile some pressure on Western nations as the fight to repatriate stolen funds enter a new phase.
The Buhari administration has been vigorously fighting corruption right from 2015.
A Port Harcourt Telegraph Correspondent says the return of stolen funds at this time might be viewed as a sign of international approval for Nigeria’s growing effort to chart a new direction, particularly in the development sector.
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