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US Gives Claimants 90 Days to Challenge Repatriation of $625m Abacha Loot



abacha loot
  • US Gives Claimants 90 Days to Challenge Repatriation of $625m Abacha Loot

The federal government has initiated talks with the family of the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to give up their claim to $145 million traced to the family of the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha in the United States, just as the U.S. has also given conditions for releasing another $480 million also linked to Abacha but has been forfeited by U.S. courts to the country’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

A top source at the Ministry of Justice said this was the outcome of the meeting between the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s four-day official visit to Washington D.C. early this month.

The ministry source confirmed that the U.S. government was willing to release the $145 million to Nigeria but for the suit instituted against the return of the money to the Nigerian government by the Bagudus.

According to the source, if the Bagudu family is willing to allow the U.S. to enter a default judgment regarding the money, it would repatriate the $145 million and $480 million, making a total of $625 million to Nigeria by September.

checks revealed that the Bagudu family had filed a case in a U.S. court challenging the forfeiture of the $145 million and the decision to repatriate it to Nigeria.

The said $145 million, investigations showed, was held in what the U.S. government described as the ‘Blue Trust’.

To make the deal possible, the source said, Malami had assured his U.S. counterpart, Sessions, that he would talk to the lawyers representing the Bagudu family to give up their claim to the money.

However, it is not clear, if the Bagudus will agree to relinquish their claim to the money.

“As a matter of fact, the minister has assured the U.S. authorities that he would persuade the Bagudus to drop their claim. He is very confident that the talk with the Bagudus will succeed,” the source said.

The Kebbi governor was closely involved with the Abachas and was linked to some of the funds stolen from Nigeria during the reign of the late head of state.

On the $480 million already with the DOJ, the source said that there were still third parties laying claim to the funds, but did not divulge their identities.

Some lawyers who claimed they were entitled to some commission from the money had threatened to go to court to stop the repatriation.

The source, however, said that the third parties also have 90 days to appeal the decision of the U.S. government to release the $480 million to Nigeria, failing which it will be repatriated by September.

Between 1994 and 1998, the Abacha family reportedly stole more than $2 billion from Nigeria under the pretext that the money was meant for national security.

The source said the conditions given by the U.S. before the funds could be released to the federal government include the demand that Nigeria must identify specific projects that the Buhari-led administration will spend the money on when released to Nigeria.

He said the U.S. also demanded that a framework for monitoring how the funds would be spent be put in place.

The source further said that U.S. noted that even though there was a third party claim to the funds, both countries should jointly work on a memorandum of understanding detailing specific projects on which the funds would be utilised.

“They also gave any third parties interested in making a claim on the funds to do so within 90 days or by September 2018 when the period to appeal will lapse.

“As I speak to you, the federal government is working to identify specific projects that will benefit from the funds,” the source added.

Investigations by THISDAY further revealed that when the U.S. asked the justice minister to identify the projects that the Nigerian government would spend the funds on, Malami told them that he would have to consult with the president and the economic team for a decision on the project.

The source could not confirm whether Nigeria has submitted a list of the projects to the U.S. as of press time.

The source explained that the U.S. expected Nigeria to submit specific projects for which the funds would be applied before the end of this month to enable the U.S. take a decision on the projects next month.

He said that the U.S. would have to vet the list and approve it before the funds can be repatriated to Nigeria.

Investigations revealed that the U.S. was being guided by past experience when Nigeria could not account for how it managed funds repatriated to it.

The source also disputed claims that the U.S. DOJ has blocked the federal government’s lawyers representing Nigeria in the claims challenging the forfeiture of the funds and their repatriation to Nigeria from earning their commission.

According to him, “Contrary to some sponsored news reports, the federal government’s lawyers said to have been barred by the U.S. DOJ were even at the meeting between Malami and Sessions in Washington D.C.

“I don’t know where these stories emanated from, but I can assure you that the federal government’s lawyers have not been stopped by the U.S. DOJ. Even the U.S. DOJ is using lawyers to represent it in both cases, so how can they bar the legal representatives of the Nigerian government?”

He said during the meeting, discussions also shifted to another $1 million linked to the late governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha, which the U.S. government also agreed to repatriate.

As a precondition for the release of the $1 million, the U.S. government has asked Nigeria to submit a proposal on how the funds will be utilised in Bayelsa State.

A source stated that about $3 million recovered from the assets traced to a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, in the U.S. remained trapped because the former governor is contesting his conviction by a court in the United Kingdom.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Russia and North Korea Revive Military Pact, Heightening Tensions with US



Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have revived a Cold War-era military pact.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday during Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, commits the two nations to provide immediate military assistance to each other if either is attacked.

This development is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States and its allies.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty, as the pact is officially named, represents the most powerful treaty signed between the two countries, according to Kim.

“This treaty elevates our ties to an alliance,” he declared during the signing ceremony. The deal stipulates that if either nation is invaded by an armed force, the other will provide military and other assistance “with all the means at its disposal,” in line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the laws of both nations.

Putin’s visit to Pyongyang and the signing of the pact come on the heels of Kim’s trip to Russia in September, an event that has already resulted in a notable increase in arms transfers between the two countries, as confirmed by satellite imagery.

Despite the mounting evidence, both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any such exchanges.

The renewed military alliance marks a significant escalation in the strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea, which had been relatively dormant since the end of the Cold War.

Analysts suggest that this move is a clear message of defiance to Western powers, particularly the United States, which has been involved in ongoing disputes with both nations over various geopolitical issues.

“The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty is for defensive purposes,” Kim stated, but experts warn that the alliance increases the risks for the US and its partners in responding to provocations from Moscow and Pyongyang. The treaty not only includes mutual defense commitments but also outlines plans to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, further solidifying the bilateral relationship.

Russian officials emphasized that the pact is a natural progression of the countries’ shared interests.

“This treaty is a testament to the deepening strategic and military cooperation between Russia and North Korea,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. “It is essential for maintaining regional stability and countering external threats.”

The US and its allies have expressed grave concerns over the implications of this agreement. “This treaty significantly alters the security landscape in East Asia,” stated a senior US State Department official. “It underscores the need for vigilance and reinforces the importance of our alliances in the region.”

Military analysts are closely watching the developments, noting that the alliance could embolden both nations to take more aggressive stances on the international stage.

“With this treaty, North Korea gains a powerful ally, while Russia secures a foothold in East Asia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “It is a strategic maneuver that complicates the geopolitical calculus for the US and its partners.”

The reactivation of the military pact also comes at a time when Russia is deeply involved in the conflict in Ukraine, where it faces significant opposition from Western nations.

North Korea’s unreserved support for Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as articulated by Kim, further aligns the two nations against common adversaries.

As the international community grapples with the potential ramifications of this treaty, it is clear that the renewed alliance between Russia and North Korea represents a formidable challenge to the current global order.

The coming months will likely see increased diplomatic activity as nations reassess their strategies in light of this development.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Begins New Term Under Coalition Government



Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for another term as South Africa’s president on Wednesday, the beginning of a new era under a coalition government.

The ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheater in the Union Buildings saw Ramaphosa take the oath of office before Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The event was attended by prominent dignitaries, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Democratic Republic of Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, and was marked by a 21-gun salute and an air force flyover.

Ramaphosa’s reappointment comes three weeks after elections saw his party, the African National Congress (ANC), lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid.

The ANC secured just over 40% of the vote on May 29, with millions of former supporters either backing a splinter party led by ex-leader Jacob Zuma or abstaining due to dissatisfaction over high levels of poverty, unemployment, and crime.

In his inauguration address, Ramaphosa emphasized the resilience of South African democracy and the need for unity.

“The resilience of our democracy has once more been tested, and the people have spoken loudly that they choose peace and democracy over conflict,” he said. “The voters of South Africa did not give any single political party the full mandate to govern our country alone. They have directed us to work together to address their plight and realize their aspirations.”

The ANC’s unprecedented electoral outcome necessitated a power-sharing agreement with long-time rivals. The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and four other parties have agreed to join a government of national unity, supporting Ramaphosa’s leadership in exchange for cabinet and parliamentary positions.

This coalition is expected to prioritize economic growth, investment attraction, structural reforms, and sustainable management of state finances.

The rand strengthened to a level stronger than 18 per dollar for the first time in over ten months, and Johannesburg’s benchmark equity index reached a record high on Wednesday.

Market optimism is driven by the inclusion of business-friendly parties in the government, anticipated to bolster Ramaphosa’s reform agenda aimed at addressing power shortages, logistical challenges, and other economic impediments.

Despite criticism in his previous term for his consultative approach, which opponents labeled as indecisive, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive governance.

“Those who would like a president that is dictatorial, who is adventurous, who is reckless, will not find that in me,” he stated last month. “In me they will find a president who wants to consult. All these processes have often been seen as, ‘he is weak, he is not decisive.’ I am decisive, but I want to take people along with.”

The new coalition government faces significant challenges, including negotiating policy differences and accommodating politically powerful figures within the ANC and its partners.

The DA has already expressed concerns over the ANC’s uncosted national health insurance plan and its foreign policy stance.

Susan Booysen, director of research at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, noted the complexities ahead. “South Africa is really moving into this with minimal on-the-ground preparation and justification,” she said. “The devil is going to be in the exact detail. Once cabinet is announced, some basic agreement will have to be reached on policy positions and on what the red-line issues will be.”

As Ramaphosa begins his new term, the nation watches closely, hopeful that this coalition government can navigate the intricate landscape of South African politics and bring about the much-needed reforms and stability.

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Fubara Appoints and Swears in Caretaker Chairmen for All 23 Rivers State LGAs



Siminalayi Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has appointed and sworn in new caretaker chairmen for all 23 local government areas.

This significant action followed swiftly after the House of Assembly, led by factional Speaker Victor Jumbo, screened and confirmed the nominees earlier in the day.

The process began on Tuesday when Governor Fubara submitted the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly.

According to a statement by the Clerk of the House, G.M. Gillis-West, the nominees were summoned for an early morning screening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The rapid succession of events underscores the urgency of the appointments amid ongoing political unrest in the state.

The political crisis intensified as former council chairmen, whose terms had expired, refused to vacate their offices.

This defiance prompted the need for a swift and firm resolution to ensure continuity and stability in local governance.

The swearing-in ceremony took place under tight security at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Fubara administered the oath of office to the first batch of eleven caretaker chairmen, with subsequent batches following promptly.

The newly appointed caretaker chairmen are:

  • Abua/Odua LGA: Madigai Dickson
  • Ahoada East LGA: Happy Benneth
  • Ahoada West LGA: Mr. Daddy John Green
  • Akuku Toru LGA: Otonye Briggs
  • Andoni LGA: Reginald Ekaan
  • Asari Toru LGA: Orolosoma Amachree
  • Bonny LGA: Alabota Anengi Barasua
  • Degema LGA: Anthony Soberekon
  • Eleme LGA: Brain Gokpa
  • Emouha LGA: David Omereji
  • Etche LGA: John Otamiri
  • Gokana LGA: Kenneth Kpeden
  • Ikwerre LGA: Darlington Orji
  • Khana LGA: Marvin Yobana
  • Obio/Akpor LGA: Emmanuel Dogwo
  • Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA: Vincent Anyanwu
  • Ogu/Bolo LGA: Margaret Ezenwa
  • Okrika LGA: Chizoba Onyebuchi
  • Omuma LGA: Cynthia Amadi
  • Opobo/Nkoro LGA: Solomon Dokubo
  • Oyigbo LGA: Chima Nwafor
  • Port Harcourt LGA: Isaac Udochukwu
  • Tai LGA: Ruth Michael

Governor Fubara expressed confidence in the capabilities of the newly appointed chairmen and emphasized the importance of their roles in maintaining stability and driving development at the grassroots level.

He urged them to prioritize the needs of their communities and work diligently towards improving the quality of life for all residents of Rivers State.

The appointment of the caretaker chairmen is expected to quell the political tensions that have recently plagued the state, ensuring that local governance continues smoothly and efficiently.

As Rivers State navigates this transitional period, the administration remains committed to fostering a stable and prosperous environment for its citizens.

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