The son of the late military ruler, Mohammed Abacha, had asked the Supreme Court to order the unfreezing of the late dictators accounts and that of his other family members in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accounts were frozen following mutual judicial assistance agreements between the five countries and the Nigerian government during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999.
During the hearing on Friday, February 8, 2020, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, held that the suit, which was first initiated in January 2004, had become statute-barred.
Justice Chima Nweze, who delivered the lead judgement, upheld the concurrent decisions of both the Federal High Court in Kano and the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, which had both dismissed the suit for being statute-barred.
“Accordingly, I hereby enter an order dismissing this appeal. I further affirm the concurrent findings and decisions of the lower courts. Appeal dismissed,” the apex court said in its lead judgement read on behalf of Justice Nweze by Justice Amina Augie.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had during the week signed a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Jersey and United States to repatriate back to the country $321million traced to the late Abacha who ruled the country from November 1993 to June 1998.