US President Donald Trump stands over Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari as the latter signs a defence purchase agreement at the White House in Washington DC on APRIL 30 2018
In what signals a dent on the reputation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the United States of America has said it would monitor the usage of the returned late Sani Abacha loots to Nigeria.
“The funds will be used by the Nigerian Independent Sovereign Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria,” a spokesperson for the United States Department of State Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.
Findings revealed that Buhari’s regime submitted to these conditions which amount to surrendering Nigeria’s national sovereignty to the foreign power because of reports that previously returned Abacha loot was diverted into the 2019 re-election campaigns for the president and governors.
Buhari was a de-factor prime minister under the regime of late Sani Abachi. He served as the powerful chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund. When Olusegun Obasanjo became president, a probe revealed a N48 billion fraud in the fund during Buhari’s leadership.
“To ensure that the funds are used responsibly and for the good of the nation, the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight, and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets.”
The United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey, on February 3, 2020, signed an agreement with Nigeria for the return of more than $308 million looted by former Nigerian head of state Sani Abacha.
The funds were stashed in different banks abroad for more than 20 years.
The Nigeria government stated that returned funds would be used by the Nigerian Independent Sovereign Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across the country.
Ortagus, however, noted that these funds would be monitored by the United States as parts of the agreement for its return to Nigeria.
She said the agreement reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner.
“It is also consistent with the commitments both the United States and Nigeria made under the principles agreed to at the 2017 Global Forum on Asset Recovery co-hosted by the United States and the United Kingdom,” Ortagus said.
She said the agreement is a symbol of the weight that the United States government places on the fight against corruption. “We welcome President Buhari‘s personal commitment to that fight, and we will continue to support civil society and other Nigerian efforts to combat corruption at all levels,” Ortagus said. ”The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”