By Nwafor Sunday
It is wrong to lie against my late husband, Maryam Abacha, wife of late military head of state, Sani Abacha, said in an interview with KANO FOCUS.
Maryam was reacting to the recovered money stashed in Switzerland, Jersey Island in United Kingdom, United States and Liechtenstein, by her late husband.
She argued in favor of her late husband, saying that while Abacha was alive, no one called him a thief. Irked by what people say, Maryam, opined that Kano elites disappointed her late husband. Her words, “I hope Kano People will realize that Sani Abacha was their son.
“And this man was born in Kano, Sabon Gari and later he came to Fagge and grew up but his name is Abacha- a Kanuri name from Borno. He has marks, Kanuri marks on his face but he chose to be Kano man.
“And he worked for Kano and he planted Kano people but there are people that he helped a lot but they are not even greeting me now for no reason. They just hate us! But why? This is a very bad attitude. It is Haram and Allah is watching us.
On Abacha’s alleged loots
Maryam said, “How come this man was not a thief until he died? What is this amount of money after 22 years you say oh we have found this amount of money and we’re bringing it back?
“It is a shame to tell lies on a dead man! It is a shame to tell lies on your leader.
“If he had done wrong, God knows. If other people are putting the wrong on him, it is a matter of time.
“They will kneel down like America is kneeling down now. Anybody that is evil will kneel down just like this corona has come to shut this world.”
Recoveries made so far
Recall that FG had recovered monies stashed away in four major countries: Switzerland, Jersey Island in United Kingdom, United States and Liechtenstein. During the Abdulsalami era in 1999, $750 million was recovered.
Under the Obasanjo administration, $1.2 billion was recovered in 2002; $149 million from Jersey Island, UK in 2003; $500 million recovered in 2004 from Switzerland and another $458 recovered in 2005 from Switzerland.
During the Jonathan administration, $1 billion was recovered in 2012 and $380 million in 2015, both tranches from Switzerland. The Jonathan administration also recovered $227 million from Liechtenstein in 2014 and $48 million from the United States the same year.
The government of Buhari government recovered $322 million from Switzerland in 2017 and $308 million from Jersey Island, United Kingdom in February 2020 which is the most current. Of the four countries, Switzerland tops the list of recoveries.
A total of about $2.6 billion of the funds so far repatriated to Nigeria was from Switzerland while the other recoveries came from UK and USA.
Significantly, in 2014, the Abacha family entered into an agreement, forfeiting several billions of dollars to the Federal Government, following plea bargaining to drop charges against the late military ruler’s son Buhari’s government has however decided to plough the recovered funds into its Social Intervention Programmes, SIPs, but there were alarms that that is the vehicle to re-loot the money.
Meanwhile, an agreement was signed by the Federal Government, the government of Jersey and the United States to repatriate the latest $308m under some conditions to ensure the money was not re-looted.