The late General Sani Abacha was a Nigerian army general and dictator who ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. The Sani Abacha administration period had a boom in the country’s federal exchange reserve from $494 million in 1993 to $9.6 billion by the middle of 1997 and the administration also reduced the external debt of Nigeria from $36billiom in 1993 to $27 billion by 1997.
However, these economic achievements came with the increase in corruption in the Sani Abacha Administration and the rise in looted public funds.
There have been cases of recent concerning recovered funds and the most active jurisdiction of asset recovery is Switzerland as we all know of its powerful service economy and asset management system. The country is then followed by the UK and the US. The Number of cases and success with regard to recovered assets stands at up to $1.48billion in total and Nigeria is the most active country when it comes to funds stolen from an African country being recovered.
Though through the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, a total of $1.53 billion had been recovered and returned to countries in Africa, this amount is small compared with the high level of capital flight. The money returned is so little compared to the money looted. These countries where the money is being stashed are probably releasing so little cause of their economy, the money is beneficial to them and one should question how this money keeps getting stashed abroad without the alarm being raised by these countries.
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Ever since the Sani Abacha time, the number of looters in Nigeria has drastically increased with fingers being pointed at Sambo Dansuki, Diezani Madueke, Retired Lieutenant General Keneth Minimah, and so on but none of this legendary looters seems to have plundered as the legendary Sani Abacha who sends money to Nigeria from his grave whenever he is bored. His wife was even mentioned to have stated that their family can never be as poor as Dangote! This just shows that there are lots of hidden funds that are unaccounted for. The sad part is that the number of potential looters is more than those currently eating this country to pieces.
President Muhammadu Buhari, recently, presented to the National assembly a budget estimate of N13.08tn for 2021 with N3.12tn which is about 23.5 per cent of it meant for debt servicing. Nigeria keeps borrowing and borrowing yet we are yet to see the yields of those projects and reasons why we borrowed in the first place.
The questions that we need to ask is where are the recovered funds that were given to boost the economy and infrastructures in Nigeria? Is it being used for the purpose of why those countries are releasing the looted funds to us for? Or is it being looted again? We need to see evidence of the funds being used for the purpose that it was given for.
How long do we need to pay off our debts or how long do we need Sani Abacha and his fellow looters to keep giving back our looted funds? We need solutions on how to minimise our debts and stop the looting of public funds. The people of Nigeria toil so hard to be stolen from.