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US Says No as Nigeria Plans to Hand Over Abacha Loot to Gov

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Abacha
  • US Says No as Nigeria Plans to Hand Over Abacha Loot to Gov

The United States of America has opposed plans by the Federal Government to hand over $100 million recovered as part of the money stolen by former military president Sani Abacha to Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State.

The American authorities had accused Gov Bagudu of corruption during the Abacha regime. The U.S. Department of Justice says Bagudu was involved in corruption with Abacha and all efforts to unravel and recover allegedly laundered money by the governor has been frustrated by the Nigerian government.

This, the American authorities said may hinder further collaboration on stolen fund repatriation between the two nations.

“This case illustrates how complex and contentious repatriating stolen assets to Nigeria can be,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House and former Nigeria expert for U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Instead of welcoming U.S. efforts, Nigeria’s lawyers appear to be supporting the interests of one of the country’s most powerful families.”

In a February 3 statement, the DoJ said Bagudu, 58, was part of a powerful network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.”

In 2013, the United States had initiated a forfeiture action against a host of assets owned by Bagudu. However, efforts by the DoJ to go after the assets, including four investment portfolios held in London in trust for him and his family, were frustrated by the Nigerian government.

According to BoJ, the Buhari led administration said it can not assist the U.S because of a settlement agreement Nigeria reached with Bagudu under President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2003. Meaning, although Bagudu was fingered in corruption, an agreement created by the Nigerian government protects him from persecution.

Under the terms of the agreement reached with the governor, he returned $163 million of allegedly stolen funds to the Nigerian authorities. In exchange, the government dropped all outstanding civil and criminal claims against him “stemming from his involvement in government corruption,” according to a Dec. 23 memorandum opinion by District Judge John D. Bates in Washington D.C.

This means “Nigeria renounced any interest whatsoever” in Bagudu’s trust assets, including those the U.S. is attempting to recover for the West African nation, the opinion stated.

President Buhari administration has reached a new agreement with Bagudu after the governor successfully sued Nigeria for violating terms of the agreement signed in 2003, the government has since reached a new agreement with him in October 2018, according to court documents.

The new agreement includes the transfer of ownership of investment portfolios, valued at 141 million euros ($155 million) to the federal government, which would then pay Bagudu and his affiliates 98.5 million euros.

The US, however, restrained the U.K. from releasing the said fund to the Nigerian government to be passing on to Bagudu and his affiliates.

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

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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Iran Set for Presidential Elections on June 28 Following Raisi’s Tragic Death

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Ebrahim Raisi

The political landscape in Iran was abruptly reshaped following the untimely demise of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

Now, the nation is poised for a significant transition with presidential elections scheduled for June 28 as reported by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume the role of president in the interim, in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic.

This unexpected development comes in the wake of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of Raisi and eight others, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, in north-western Iran.

The government attributed the crash to adverse weather conditions and dense fog in the mountainous region.

As Iran prepares for the upcoming elections, candidates will have the opportunity to register starting May 30.

However, prospective candidates will undergo thorough vetting by the Guardian Council, a body comprising 12 clerics and jurists responsible for administering elections.

The council’s scrutiny is anticipated to be particularly stringent, given the unexpected vacancy in the presidency and the significance of the upcoming transition.

While Vice President Mokhber has assumed leadership in the interim period, it remains uncertain whether he will contest the presidential elections himself.

Speculation abounds as to who will emerge as the frontrunner in the electoral race, with many analysts suggesting that the clerical establishment and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may prefer a candidate aligned with Raisi’s ultraconservative stance, characterized by deep-seated distrust of the United States and Israel.

Raisi’s tenure as president was marked by polarizing policies and events.

His association with mass arrests and executions following violent protests in 2022, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly violating Iran’s dress code, stirred controversy both domestically and internationally.

As such, his passing has not only left a void in Iran’s leadership but has also raised questions about the future trajectory of the nation’s politics.

With the presidential elections fast approaching, Iran finds itself at a critical juncture, grappling with the aftermath of a tragic loss while navigating the complexities of its political landscape.

As the nation mourns the passing of President Raisi, all eyes are now on the forthcoming electoral process, which is poised to shape Iran’s future in the post-Raisi era.

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Iran Mourns: Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian

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Ebrahim Raisi

A tragic helicopter crash has claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, sending shockwaves across the nation and plunging the country into mourning.

The fatal incident occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where the helicopter carrying the two senior officials and several other passengers crashed, resulting in the loss of all on board.

The crash site, now a scene of charred wreckage, stands as a somber reminder of the untimely demise of these key figures in Iranian politics.

President Raisi, who assumed office in August 2021, was widely regarded for his commitment to serving the Iranian people and advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

His tenure as president was marked by efforts to strengthen Iran’s position in regional affairs and enhance diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering closer ties with neighboring nations in the Middle East, including Arab countries across the Gulf.

His diplomatic acumen and dedication to advancing Iran’s interests earned him respect both domestically and internationally.

The news of their tragic deaths has elicited an outpouring of grief and condolences from leaders and citizens alike, both within Iran and abroad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep sadness over the loss, highlighting President Raisi’s commitment to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the Muslim world.

Similarly, the European Union extended its sincere condolences to the families of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, acknowledging the profound impact of their untimely passing on the Iranian nation.

The helicopter crash not only robbed Iran of two of its most prominent leaders but also left a void in the country’s political landscape.

As the nation grapples with this immense loss, tributes pour in from all corners, commemorating the contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian to the advancement of Iran’s interests and the well-being of its people.

The legacy of these esteemed leaders will endure in the hearts and minds of Iranians, serving as a guiding light for future generations as they navigate the complexities of governance and diplomacy in an ever-changing world.

Iran mourns the loss of two of its finest sons, whose dedication and service will be remembered for years to come.

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