France is to return $150 million of the infamous ‘Abacha Loot’ to Nigeria as part of their commitment to promoting global accountability and addressing illicit financial flows, the African giant has announced.
It comes after the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, paid a courtesey call on President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Friday.
The funds, which were originally stolen from Nigeria by the late military dictator General Sani Abacha, will be repatriated to support social development programs and benefit the Nigerian people.
In addition to the recovery of another tranche of Abacha loot, Nigeria also signed a €100 million agreement with France to support the i-DICE programme — a Federal Government initiative to promote investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Arts Industries.
The agreement was signed by Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Technology, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, at an earlier event at Tafawa Balewa House, the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his speech, President Tinubu expressed his appreciation to France for the return of the stolen money, saying it would be judiciously used for the country’s development.
“Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money. It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives,” the President told Catherine Colonna, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, who delivered the news.
He commended France for setting an example in international cooperation and stressed the importance of returning such looted funds to their rightful owners.
The ‘Abacha Loot’ refers to the vast sums of money embezzled by General Abacha during his notorious regime in the 1990s. These funds were illicitly transferred to various foreign accounts, including those in France. Since then, Nigeria has been tirelessly working towards the recovery of these stolen assets, seeking international cooperation to ensure justice and restitution for its citizens.