Abacha In Trillions Before Unknown Looters
On a lighter note, if we are to pick up our counting device and do some mathematics to know the worth of the popular Abacha loot, sorry, assets, as said by our amiable Attorney General while announcing the newest of the funds in our local currency (Naira), don’t you think it will be enough to start a new Nigeria?. After all the lockdown has awaken the spirit of mathematics in us. It has made us to know the number of sticks that made up a Dangote Pasta, the total count of grains that made up a cup of rice to the extent that we even know that 167 tea spoon-full made up a sachet of ‘pure water’. Won’t it be amazing to know how much ‘ancestor’ Abacha had sent from grave to help Nigeria’s ministry in Naira?
Let’s get down to it, but before we go beyond the starting line, you must know Abacha, don’t you? There was only one Abacha – our former Head of State, who ruled like there were no tomorrow and died of apple poison by a said mistress sometime around June, 1988 – a whole 22 years ago. Although, Nigeria’s economy got some tush face during his administration. One of the best till date. So, indeed every good man has his bad side, so is every bad man.
Days after his death, the country got another Military ruler in person of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, he was the one who gave the directive on what is today known as Abacha loot. He ordered a probe into the looting of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1993-1998 and at the end of the enquiry, it was established that the late Abacha stole over $5 billion from the vaults of the CBN through his one of his aids.
Most of these money are scattered in accounts in countries like UK, USA, Switzerland and others. There were many other assets in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Sierra Leone and with private individuals, friends and family, of which has already been recovered during the enquiry. The forfeited assets as reported, were promulgated into law and signed by General Abubakar on 26th May 1999.
Our concern isn’t about the established figure reported by Abdulsalami’s administration but the recovered dollars from Abdulsalami’s down to this moment. It should be noted that of all the leader Nigeria had had since then, only late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua didn’t receive any recovered funds of the so called Abacha money.
While Abdulsalami was Head of State, in 1999, $750 million was recovered. Under the Obasanjo administration, $1.2 billion was recovered in 2002; $149 million from Jersey Island, UK in 2003; $500 million recovered in 2004 from Switzerland and another $458 recovered in 2005 from Switzerland. During the Jonathan administration, $1 billion was recovered in 2012 and $380 million in 2015, both tranches from Switzerland. The Jonathan administration also recovered $227 million from Liechtenstein in 2014 and $48 million from the United States the same year.
The Buhari government recovered $322 million from Switzerland in 2017 and $311 million from Jersey Island, United Kingdom, this year, which is the most current. The one humorously called Abacha Covid-19 palliative by Nigerians.
As at the time of writing this, Naira against US Dollars is N390. So taking Abdulsalami’s time first. We will have 292.5 billion naira. Obasanjo’s administration will equal to 889 billion and 742 million Naira. While the ones recovered in Jonathan’s era will amount to 645.5 billion Naira.
And the ones recovered so far in Buhari’s time is over 247 billion Naira. Alot of the funds are still yet to be recovered as established by the Transparency International.
In total we are having over two trillion Naira, while still expecting more. Indeed these funds can be used to restart a nation but unfortunately, it has not do perhaps anything good to the progress of the country. There hasn’t been any leader that has been able to account for these refunded loots, save from the present one said would be used to construct Kano-Abuja Express way, Second Niger Bridge and Lagos-Ibadan Express way, thanks to international organizations who give the condition that if the fund is not properly used, Nigeria will have to give it back.
If Abacha was the only man who had siphoned much from this country, while will the recovered funds be going back to private pockets? Perhaps, if death hadn’t came for Abacha, his remains won’t be synonymous to a looter, just like those alive in which no one could dare calling them ‘abacha’.