Sir: Abacha’s spoils remind increasingly impoverished Nigerians of their past, but especially of the relentless greed of those who guided them in different eras.
In many ways, Nigeria appears to be a plundered country. Much has been taken from Nigerians, whether it is money, historical artifacts or intangible assets that are the basis of a decent and dignified human existence.
If foreigners are responsible for the precious cultural heritage taken to Europe during the colonial era, then Nigerians themselves are responsible for the dizzying amounts of public funds stolen from their country and hidden in other countries. . True, in that case the enemy is quite inside.
After more than 20 years, France has returned to Nigeria about $150 million stolen by late dictator Sani Abacha. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna made this known during a visit to President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
Isn’t it surprising that some of the loot was also in France? Previous ones were found in Switzerland, England, Jersey, Liechtenstein, and a few other countries. Where else did the late dictator of Kano State hide the money he stole from Nigeria?
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Nigeria began to move south. But there is something like a consensus that the country, which showed incredible promise when it gained independence in 1960, began to regress when the military began intervening in the government. The 1966 coup was particularly shocking. Because it opened the floodgates of military intervention in Nigeria, setting the country back and throwing its institutions into chaos.
But somehow, in a country where iron-fisted despots like Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari enjoyed unconstitutional incursions into government, Abacha took the cake. The exorbitant amount of money he stole and stashed in Nigerian banks has and will continue to be recovered. Because no one knows how much money he hid and where.
Some of those who helped Abacha steal or hide money have continued to hold senior positions in the country since his death in 1998. Corruption in Nigeria has a long and painful history. Abacha’s plunder story continues to humiliate Nigerians for generations. The sooner Nigeria collects the full amount and plugs all the holes that enable reckless theft of public funds, the sooner the country will begin to recover from years of theft and plunder.
Until then, the fact that many Nigerians believe that Abacha’s spoils are destined to be returned to the country speaks volumes about a country where corruption is a virtue.
Keneobiezu [email protected]