Abacha Loot: Tinubu to receive administration’s first tranche of $150 million from France
A French official said the repatriation would target development projects benefiting the Nigerian people.
President Bola Tinubu met with a French presidential envoy in Abuja on Friday, a diplomatic consultation in which details were finalised between Nigeria and France to return $150 million in parts of looted public funds linked to former military dictator Sani Abacha.
The process to repatriate these funds was set in motion following a formal request submitted by the Federal Ministry of Justice. The process involves trilateral agreements among the United States, France, and Nigeria to facilitate the return of the latest tranche of Mr Abacha’s plunder.
Catherine Colonna, the minister for Europe and foreign affairs of France, elaborated on the details of her team’s closed-door discussions with Mr Tinubu. She said further deliberations would be conducted with the Nigerian government to determine how the repatriated funds would be strategically invested within the country’s various economic sectors.
“I also informed President Tinubu that in response to the request submitted by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice, and in agreement with the U.S. administration, France will return to Nigeria the assets stolen from the Nigerian people by General Sani Abacha and his family that have been frozen in France since 2021.
“We will start discussions with the Nigerian administration in order to allocate this $150 million to development projects benefiting the population, according to the priorities of the Nigerian government,” she said.
The repatriation is the first of such under Mr Tinubu’s administration, which took charge in May following Nigeria’s presidential elections in February. The previous administration led by Muhammadu Buhari received two tranches of about $630 million from Switzerland and Jersey, United Kingdom, which went into developmental projects.
Both Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan administrations also received about $2 billion in repatriated funds from Mr Abacha, who died in June 1998 from cardiac arrest after about five years in power.