Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi has insisted that his then principal, General Sani Abacha, did not loot Nigeria’s treasury.
Bamaiyi said the stories of Abacha’s loot was a creation of the Nigerian media.
He stated this while speaking at the launching of a tell-all memoir, which covers his military career, in Abuja on Thursday.
Bamaiyi explained that Abacha only kept the monies in places, where they could be easily accessed.
“I am not defending Abacha, I am not saying things did not go wrong,” Ishaya Bamaiyi noted, adding that “What I know is that we sat down and agreed that the monies should be kept in a place so that we can have access to them. I don’t know if something else happened after that period.”
Bamaiyi’s account of Abacha’s handling of Nigeria’s treasury during his regime, which lasted between November 17, 1993, and June 8, 1998, contradicts an estimate that shows Abacha channeled up to $2.2 billion from Central Bank of Nigeria into private accounts.
On March 8, 2016, Nigeria and Switzerland entered into an agreement, which will see the European nation return $321million stolen by the former military head of state.
Nigeria and Switzerland on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the repatriation of $321 million stashed in the European nation’s banks by the late maximum ruler, Gen. Sani Abacha.
The pact also seeks to block accounts linked to stolen funds.
This is the second batch of the stolen money linked to the late Abacha.
Switzerland also repatriated $722m to Nigeria in 2005.
The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, hinted that both countries are now in the process of repatriating the looted fund.
The MoU, he argued will help remove all the legal bottlenecks in the fund repatriation.
The envoy spoke during the signing of MoU on Mutual Legal Assistance on criminal matters, between the Swiss government and the Federal Government in Abuja.
Mayoraz noted that Friday’s event is significant in the sense that it would eradicate every bottlenecks associated with the repatriation of stolen funds kept in his country.
The ambassador, who stated that the pact is aimed at fostering understanding between the two countries as it relates to their different legal system said, “We are now in the process of repatriating $321m from the second batch of the Abacha loot.
“Our countries enjoy excellent relations and we cooperate as partners in many fields, particularly on the return of looted assets, migration, human rights, humanitarian assistance and many others.
“Today, we decide to take this cooperation forward to deepen it in the field of judicial cooperation. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding in this important area, our two states further strengthen their ties of friendship and cooperation.”
This is really great news because Nigeria needs this money right now..The Abacha loot is childsplay compared to the looting that has gone on in recent times….Learner!
[Stella Dimorko Korkus]