SERAP asks Buhari to provide copy of agreement with US on returned $23m Abacha loot 

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘direct the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to provide a copy of the agreement, the Federal Government recently signed with the United States (US) for the repatriation of $23 million stolen by late General Sani Abacha.’

This was contained in a letter dated 27 August 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “By the combined reading of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations, there are transparency obligations imposed on your government to widely publishing the agreement on the $23 million Abacha loot.

“Providing us with a copy of the agreement with the US, and publishing the agreement would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it, and to monitor the spending of the repatriated $23 million Abacha loot to ensure that the money is not mismanaged, diverted or stolen.

The letter read partly: “The Nigerian Constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.

“Your government has a responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in how any repatriated stolen funds are spent, to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.

“SERAP also urges you to provide details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

“Publishing a copy of the agreement signed with the US would also promote transparency and accountability in the spending of public funds. Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognised human right to information.

SERAP further said: “The Freedom of Information Act, Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution, article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantee to everyone the right to information, including to a copy of the agreement on the repatriated $23 million Abacha loot.

“According to our information, the US government recently signed an agreement with the Federal Government to repatriate $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria.

“The agreement was signed on behalf of your government by Mr Abubakar Malami. This repatriation brings the total amount of funds repatriated in the Abacha case by the US to more than $334.7 million,” the letter read.

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Queen Ferry
Queen Ferry
Chinyere Treasure Ikechukwu also known as Queen Ferry, is a Nigerian business Executive, social media savvy Journalist and Content Editor with over seven years experience. She serves as the Vice-Chairman of Naijatraffic Limited. If Treasure is not researching/blogging, she will be making delicious delicacy.

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