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Abacha’s $500 Million Loot: HEDA Calls For Probe Of Banks, Individuals

The federal government has the moral obligation to explain to Nigerians questions surrounding illicit funds said to be in millions of dollars traced to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, a civil rights group has said.

Recently, reports indicated a fresh discovery of another £211 million traced to the late dictator. The fund is part of a global $500 million found in Paris, Dublin, London, and the Island Jersey barely a decade ago.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA): “These funds were kept by some banks for 20 years. The federal government should invoke international instruments to sanction international collaborators who assisted in fleecing the country.”

HEDA said the recovery of Abacha’s loot was not enough, adding that President Buhari should institute an extensive probe into the era of military rule with the goal of achieving “total recovery”.

The group said going into the past should not be seen as time-wasting but as a historic responsibility of the government in ensuring that criminals will have their judgment day irrespective of time and space.

It added: “A crooked leader is expected to be surrounded by a retinue of corrupt aides. With the looting of billions of dollars by Abacha, it should be expected that the five-year rule represented an era of the locust when public funds were plundered in the most reckless and irresponsible manner.”

“Recovering the looted funds of late Abacha should be commended, but there are still many rivers to cross. Many loose ends are yet to be tied. These funds passed through the banking system, they were not shipped abroad. The funds were withdrawn from the Nigerian financial system definitely with the collaboration of some officials. These are grave questions that Nigerians should ask.”

HEDA said though series of reports had concentrated on naming Abacha as the culprit but that the federal government has failed to name the inevitable collaborators and enablers.

The OPL245 heist, from investigation and evidence, could not have been possible without the active complicity of local and international banks and companies.

The group said a comprehensive probe into the past will strengthen public confidence that criminals of yesteryears will not be allowed to live with the impression that you can live in peace at the expense of misery and extreme poverty their acts of corruption had nurtured.

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