Why Abacha’s $321m loot was released to Nigeria — CSOs

Posted by Rotimi Ojomoyela | 5 November 2018 | 1,430 times

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•Late Sani Abacha

Some concerned civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have revealed why the loot of the late maximum ruler and former Nigerian head of State, General Sanni Abacha was released to the Nigerian Government.

According to the Non-governmental Organisations, “It was the intention to lessen poverty and bridge the wide gap between the rich and poor that made the Swiss government to release the looted funds”

“Available statistics by the World Bank revealed that over 75 per cent of Nigerians is extremely poor. Only 20 per cent are of the middle class and five per cent are super rich”.

They advised the Federal Government not betray that trust, by diverting the fund to other projects, where it could be re-looted but to ensure strict compliance to the plan of empowering and lifting the poorest Nigerians out of poverty.

The CSOs under the aegis of New Initiative for Social Development(NISD) and Africa Network for Economic and Environmental Justice(ANEEJ), counselled President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to be vigilant and protect the $321 million Abacha loot released by Swiss government from unscrupulous and corrupt politicians.

The CSOs stated further that President Muhammadu Buhari must honour the agreement reached with the Swiss Bank that all recovered loots will be deployed to finance the welfare of poor Nigerians.

At a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, the NISD Executive Director , Mr. Abiodun Oyeleye, said the Civil Society organizations have entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the world and Swiss Banks and the FG to monitor how the Cash transfer programme to poor Nigerians in the Southwest States of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun is prosecuted .

Oyeleye revealed that in compliance with the agreement reached with the Swiss Government that the money will be used to cater for the poor, which he said facilitated the release of the looted funds that the three states were listed in the region to benefit in the first tranche of the scheme.

He said the monitoring mechanism became expedient to ensure that only the poor Nigerians are captured in the data already prepared by the world bank and not those that have alliances with politicians and political parties.

The NISD boss added that ANEEJ is presently implementing the monitoring of received assets in Nigeria through Transparency and Accountability projected tagged MANTRA, which is being supported by the British Department for International Development(DFID).

He stated that the Swiss and British Government had released a sum of $394 million looted funds to Nigeria in recent under the guise that the monies would be used to cater for poor Nigerians, saying proper monitoring by apolitical bodies like his organization will ensure strict compliance to agreements.

Oyeleye said: “The essence of the MANTRA programme to be undertaken by ANEEJ and NISD, is to ensure that the cash transfer to get to the direct beneficiaries in Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States in Southwest.

“We are also to create awareness across all the State, so that they can key into the programme. We are to ensure accountability and transparency in the disbursement of the fund. We must ensure that it is not politicized or diverted or seen as a national cake that can be misused by powerful people.

“The data of each state were already compiled, the beneficiaries are known and our task is to ensure that those who don’t have any means of livelihood benefit and they must be productive members of a family to develop economic activities like business that can sustain their people.

“Ours is to deploy monitors to all the towns and villages and interact with these people and we are going to establish a feedback mechanism for beneficiaries and citizens on the implementation of the programme in the three states”.

Sourced from Vanguard report 

Source: News Express

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