By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja, Feb. 2, 2023
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama says the corrupt-free record of President Muhammadu Buhari is a key facilitator for the return of the Abacha loot and other stolen national assets.
Onyeama made this known on Thursday in Abuja during the 22nd Edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard while presenting the achievements of the Foreign Ministry in the past seven years.
He said that the global community sees Nigeria as a country led by a leader that has unimpeachable integrity locally and internationally.
“Nigeria was able to leverage on Mr. President’s anti-corruption stance to start to repatriate a lot of the loot that was stolen out of this country and in a huge amount, about 2 billion on record pounds sterling of Nigerian asset loots stashed in foreign countries and we started to get these back.
“And again, I will say thanks to clearly one very robust diplomacy and engagement by this country and also with Mr. President’s engagement with various countries.
“Nigeria-U.S. Binational Commission, in 2020 was a platform that was used to sign a tripartite agreement between the U.S, the Daily week of Jersey and Nigeria to have some assets, 380,460,239, stolen funds of Nigeria repatriated to Nigeria.
“And again, we saw ongoing engagements facilitating the landmark tripartite agreement between Nigeria and this time Switzerland and the world bank repatriate 322 million dollars called the Abacha loots under a legal framework returned to Nigeria.
“We have also succeeded with the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates also getting funds coming back and all of these have been in the back of Mr President’s anti-corruption fight,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama said that Nigeria had also been able to get positive recognition in the international and multilateral forums because of the President’s anti-corruption personality which he is renowned for the world over.
The minister said that Buhari’s principle and what the world knew about him had been able to become a brand for Nigeria.
“Because of the personality of the President, within the framework of the UN, after trying for a very long time to get the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution on the promotion of international Cooperation in the area of illicit financial flows and strengthened good practices on asset return to foster sustainable development, Nigeria through its foreign policy, through its diplomatic relations was able to, with other like-minded countries get this passed by the UN General Assembly as a framework.
“This is to hold countries to account and get their companies and individuals doing business in Nigeria and other developing countries to be accountable with respect to illicit financial flows out of this country.
“Mr. President was very key in Nigeria becoming a member of the open government partnership, and this comprises government leaders and civil society advocates, and it promotes transparent, participatory, inclusive and accountable governance.
“So, with Nigeria being in these kinds of organisations, these are also statements to the global community that Nigeria is a country that respects the rule of law and transparency and fights corruption.
“In that context and because of that, Mr. President was appointed the African Union anti-corruption champion and through that was able to get through a lot of good practices and regulations that countries adopted, and that got other African countries to promote anti-corruption,” Onyeama said.