- Trump is set to receive a letter from SERAP requesting the administration to release Abacha's loot to Nigeria
- US embassy says it will support the government of Nigeria’s efforts to work with civil society to identify how harm can be remedied
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria on Sunday, May 7, confirmed that it would transmit to President Donald Trump, a letter from the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), requesting the administration to release the assets to Nigeria.
This was disclosed in an electronic mail exchange with The Guardian.
With the development, efforts to recover some $500 million worth of United States-based proceeds of corruption traced to Nigeria’s former Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha now looks to have taken a positive turn.
A statement by Adetokunbo Mumuni, executive director at SERAP, had quoted the U.S. Embassy as saying, “the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are in regular communication with the Nigerian Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding further cooperation needed to conclude pending asset forfeiture cases and to develop a mechanism for the timely and transparent repatriation of those assets.”
The embassy letter signed by David J. Young, Deputy Chief of Mission followed a memo dated February 3, 2017 and signed by the organisation’s U.S. Volunteer Counsel Professor Alexander W. Sierck and Mumuni.
The embassy’s letter read in part: “The United States government supports the government of Nigeria’s efforts to work with civil society to identify how harm can be remedied through the return of stolen assets. We encourage you to disclose these issues with the Nigerian Attorney General and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who are working closely with the US on the repatriation process.
“We were encouraged by civil society’s role in the development of Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership Action Plan and the commitment to strengthening laws to foster transparency and accountability in the management of recovered and returned assets.”
But the Press Attaché at the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy, Russel Brooks in an electronic mail exchange last night, clarified the matter on the purported Abacha loot in the US.
“Thanks for allowing me to place this in the proper context,” he said.
“The DCM sent a routine, standard reply that the SERAP letter would be forwarded; no more, no less. Mr. Young also pointed out that the matter of the assets in question is being managed by the U.S. Justice Department in collaboration with the Nigerian Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Requests for additional details or further clarification should be directed to the U.S. Department of Justice,” Brooks concluded.
Earlier, NAIJ.com had reported that the Nigerian government might have to pay $79 million to the Swiss government as commission on the funds looted by late head of state Sani Abacha.
Speaking at a seminar to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, the chairman of the Civil Society Network Against, Olanrewaju Suraj said the federal government may have agreed to pay $79 million (N25.2 billion) and commission on the Abacha loot.
Suraj said the commission stands as part of conditions agreed on by the two governments to facilitate the repatriation of over almost $400 million (N128billion) recovered from the late military ruler.
He said the Nigerian government has agreed to forfeit $79 million as part of the negotiation deal.
Meanwhile, some Nigerians have clamored for Buhari to be replaced as shown in this NAIJ.com video below: