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$322m Abacha’s Loot Sharing: A Case Of Esau’s Hands, Jacob’s Voice

By O’Seun John

On June 20th, 2018, the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, disclosed the intention of the Federal Government of Nigeria to disburse the repatriated $322,000,000 Abacha loot from Switzerland to poor and vulnerable Nigerians in 19 States.

The Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED) consider this proposed act as a deceitful venture laced with the bead of corruption and graft enablement by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The conservative naira equivalent of the returned loot stands at a whooping 115, 920, 000, 000 (one hundred and fifteen billion, nine hundred and twenty million naira). This huge fund can best be channeled into providing basic social amenities and development projects that will be of direct benefits to Nigerians in the rural communities and most importantly, long Iasting rather than throwing it on a one-off payment exercise.

Similarly, the proposed disbursement exercise in practical terms looks more like an avenue to reloot the repatriated fund using a complex web of syndicated pyramid.

The composition and compilation of the National Social Register (NSR) intended to be used for the exercise is questionable, as this register was not provided by the National Population Commission but built through inputs from State Government officials, most of whom have over time been involved in ghost-worker scheme in the civil and public service. The NSR does not in anyway represent the statistics of the much evangelized vulnerable Nigerians but rather the desire of those relied upon to provide the data.

A look at the plan of the Federal Government shows a planned disbursement of 5,000 (five thousand naira) to 302,000 households categorized as poor and vulnerable. A quick calculation of this gives 1,510,000,000 (one billion, five hundred and ten million naira) which is less than one percent of the actual repatriated fund. The big question then is: what happens to the remaining 114, 410, 000, 000 (one hundred and fourteen billion, four hundred and ten million naira) ?

The controversy that greeted the process of the loot repatriation where the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, allegedly tried manoeuvring the procedure by creating an avenue for his cronies to get six billion naira from the loot in work duplication has punctured any silo of trust and sincerity of the Federal Government in making judicious use of the fund.

We hope this new and ambiguous disbursement tactics is not an early avenue to distribute campaign funds.

. Comrade O’Seun John is the Director Media and Publicity, Advocacy for integrity and Economic Development (AIED)