ABACHA: Dead, But Still Dispensing Money From The Grave

November 6, 2023

4.8 min readCategories: Starnews Editorial

The late Nigerian Head of state, General Sani Abacha has been the most generous leader the country ever had. Despite being dead since 1998, yet he remembers the poor country he left behind and thought it wise and needful to keep ‘vomiting money’ even from his graveyard.

According to a report in 2022, the total amount of looted funds recovered from the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha in the past 24 years was put at $3.65 billion. This was revealed by an infographic of the BBC with data gathered from the federal government, World Bank, and Transparency International.

It showed that in 1998, a total of $750 million was recovered from the late Head of State’s family; in year 2000, $64 million was recovered from Switzerland; in 2002, $1.2 billion was recovered from the Abacha family; in 2003, $160 million and $88 million were recovered from Jersey and Switzerland respectively, and in 2005, another $461.3 million was returned back to Nigeria from Switzerland.

Similarly, in 2006, Nigeria received another $44.1 million from Switzerland; in 2014, $227 million was recovered from Liechtenstein; in 2018, another $322 million was recovered from Switzerland; in 2020, a total of $311.7 million was repatriated from the USA and recently, an agreement was signed for the repatriation of another $23 million from the same USA to Nigeria.

As if that was not enough, nigerians were dazed on November 3, 2023, when the French Government announced its decision to return another $150 million Abacha’s loot back to the treasury of the country.

The visiting France Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, who disclosed this in Abuja, said she has informed President Bola Tinubu about the planned return of the seized fund.

Abacha keeps dispensing money like ATM machine even in death. We doubt if any ATM machine in Nigeria can dispense the huge amount our ‘generous’ late head of state has dispensed so far since he died.

Among the past Nigerian leaders that looted the nations treasury, only that of Abacha is humongous and only God knows when Nigeria will finish recovering his loot. For a Head of state to have looted this huge amount in 1998, that shows how rich the country was and is.

If a single man can loot this much from the nation’s treasury, and Nigeria is yet to fully recover all the loot, only God knows how much the Country has lost to corrupt and wicked leaders.

But despite the huge sum repratriated, the irony is that politicians are re-looting the repratriated funds. There has been no significant improvement in the lives of an ordinary Nigerian, which is an indication that the money are being re-looted by politicians in the helm of affairs.

Ridiculously, Nigeria has no records of the looted funds. We only get to know about them from foreign countries.

There are many Abachas in Nigeria who are either dead or alive and their looted funds are unknown. Imagine how greatly developed Nigeria would have been if all these recovered funds were judiciously used to better the lives of Nigerians.

The poverty rate would not be as high as it is presently. Government could do a whole lot with the funds. But sadly, successive government officials are relooting the recovered loots, thereby, plunging the country into hardship, sufferings and untold pains.

Born on September 20, 1943, General Sani Abacha(GCFR) was a Nigerian military officer who ruled as the military head of state after seizing power in 1993 until his death in 1998.

Abacha’s seizure of power was the last successful coup d’état in Nigerian military history.

He served as Chief of Army Staff from 1985 to 1990, as Chief of Defence Staff from 1990 to 1993, and as Minister of Defence. Abacha is noted for having been the first Nigerian Army officer to attain the rank of a full military general without skipping a single rank.

His rule saw the achievement of several economic feats and also recorded human rights abuses and several political assassinations. He has been dubbed a kleptocrat and a dictator by several modern commentators and He was succeeded by former Nigeria’s head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Abacha was born and brought up in Kano to a Kanuri family originally from present-day Borno State. He attended the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna, and was commissioned in 1963 after he had attended the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England.

Regarding his military career, he was the defence minister and most senior official within the military hierarchy during the crisis of the Third Republic. He orchestrated the coup d’état of 1993 which overthrew the Interim National Government of Ernest Shonekan. In his nationwide broadcast, Abacha portrayed the overthrow as an act of stability brought about through the socio-political uncertainties caused by the 1993 presidential election.

Abacha got married to Maryam Abacha and had seven sons and three daughters. As of 2018, he had thirty-three grandchildren. The scars on his face were tribal markings.

On June 8, 1998, Abacha died in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja. He was buried on the same day according to Muslim tradition and without an autopsy, fueling speculation that he may have been assassinated. The government identified the cause of death as a sudden heart attack.

It is believed by foreign diplomats, including United States Intelligence analysts, that he might have been poisoned. His chief security officer, Hamza al-Mustapha, believed he was poisoned by Israeli operatives in the company of Yasser Arafat. At the time of his death, he was about to transfer power to a civilian government in October 1998, implemented in October 1995.

We hope the repatriated loot from France will be used judiciously under the present administration led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and we look forward to more countries repatriating more of Abacha’s looted funds from their coffers back to NIGERIA.

We also look forward to receiving more money from our generous father, late General Sani Abacha, right from his graveyard.

By Starnews NG

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About the Author: Olumide Akinrinlola

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