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Abacha loot: SERAP sues Buhari over $23m secrecy

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SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the failure  of Buhari to publish copy and details of the agreement the Federal Government recently signed with the United States for the repatriation of $23 million stolen by the late military head of state, Sani Abacha.

Also joined in the suit as co-Respondent is the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to:“direct and compel President Buhari and Abubakar Malami to release and widely publish copy of the agreement on the Abacha loot with the U.S.

 “To direct and compel President Buhari and Abubakar Malami to publish details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen under the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations impose transparency obligations on the Federal Government to widely publish the agreement on the $23 million Abacha loot.

Publishing a copy of the agreement with the U.S. would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it, and to monitor the spending of the repatriated loot to ensure that the money is not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.

The repatriated $23 million Abacha loot is vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. Substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been mismanaged, diverted, or re-stolen, and in any case remain unaccounted for.,” the claims against Federal Government reads in part.

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No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

It will be recalled that United States had in August signed an agreement with the Federal Government to repatriate $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria, adding to the $311.7 million Abacha loot repatriated from the U.S. to Nigeria in 2020.

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