The Presidency said that the fight against coronavirus would have been tougher without the repatriation of the money stolen by the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha.
A statement on Tuesday by the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said the money has been allocated for infrastructure development in the country.
Shehu noted that without the returned Abacha funds, the fight against coronavirus would have been tougher. The statement reads:
“On Monday, May 4, 2020, some $311 million US Dollars – stolen from the citizens of Nigeria during the Abacha regime – were safely returned to our country from the United States.
“These funds have already been allocated, and will be used in full, for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development: The second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways – creating tens of thousands of Nigerian construction jobs and local skills, which can then be useful in future projects.
“Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity to some three million homes – over ten million citizens – in our country.
“The receipt of these stolen monies – and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.”
The Presidency further noted that the recovered money from the US and similar funds previously recovered from other jurisdictions had helped the country to address developmental challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320m – are already being used for the government’s free school feeding scheme, a stipend for millions of disadvantaged citizens, and grain grants for those in severe food hardship.
“Without these funds, the fight against COVID-19 would be even tougher,” Shehu added.