US returns $23 million seized from dictator Sani Abacha to Nigeria

The governments of Nigeria and the United States have agreed to return to the African country 23 million dollars that were seized from dictator Sani Abacha, when he laundered those assets through British and American banks.

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has explained that the agreement is the result of protracted negotiations with representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K. National Crime Agency, reports the Nigerian newspaper ‘The Guardian’.

Malami said that by order of President Muhammadu Buhari, this money will be used to finance the completion of the road linking Abuja and Kano, as well as the highway between Lagos and Ibadan and other infrastructures in Niger.

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In recent years, Washington and Abuja have been working together to return to Nigeria the millions of dollars looted by senior members of the dictatorship, including the late Sani Abacha, who took control of the country between 1993 and 1996 after the fifth military coup since independence.

In total, some 335 million dollars have been returned to the Nigerian state coffers, the use of which for the construction of civilian infrastructure is being supervised by external agents, as part of the agreement between the parties.

For her part, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, has hailed the agreement between Washington, Abuja and London as “the result of extensive and high-level cooperation” to restore the Nigerian people.

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“The United States views the fight against corruption as a core national security interest,” said Leonard, who stressed that her country “will not be a safe haven for looted funds from any nation in the world.”

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