The Presidency has announced its plans for the 311 million US Dollars repatriated from the United States as Abacha loot. This money followed a series of repatriated funds stolen by the former military General Sanni Abacha since 1998.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Federal government recovered the latest on Monday.
According to him, the funds have already been allocated and will be used in full, for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development.
The projects to be executed include the second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways – creating tens of thousands of Nigerian construction jobs and local skills, which can then be useful in future projects.
“Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity to some three million homes – over ten million citizens – in our country,” He added.
He, however, made it known that the receipt of these stolen monies – and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.
“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – are already being used for the government’s free school feeding scheme, a stipend for millions of disadvantaged citizens, and grain grants for those in severe food hardship.
Without these funds, the fight against Covid-19 would be even tougher.
The latest return is a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.
Without cooperation both from the UK Government, the US Executive branch and US Congress, we would not have achieved the return of these funds at all.
For years many countries deemed successive Nigerian administrations as too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies – so they did not return the funds.
Today, US, UK and other jurisdictions have found the partnership with the nation of Nigeria they can finally trust,” the statement read in parts.
Mr Shehu then assured that the Buhari-led administration is committed to – and is enacting – total and zero tolerance to corruption in politics and public administration.
“The days when the government was seen and used by the political class as their personal ATM to empty are over. The time of better governance and clean hands in the affairs of state is here to stay,” He declared.