The Nigerian government has confirmed that France will return $150 million stolen by former military head of state, General Sani Abacha.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, announced this in a statement.
He added that the Nigerian leader, Bola Tinubu praised the French government for the move.
Receiving the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, Tinubu commended the strengthening of bilateral ties between Abuja and Paris.
“Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money. It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives,” Tinubu was quoted as saying.
On the situation in Niger Republic, President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said Nigeria is monitoring the situation in the neighbouring country, and exploring diplomatic channels to avoid bloodshed.
“Leadership is about responding to the needs of the people; their cries, and their frustrations. Nigeria shares a border with Niger across the expanse of seven Nigerian states, and most of these states are very populated. Therefore, I need to guide ECOWAS carefully and steadily so that we manage our anger carefully.
”We have a colleague and a democratically-elected leader, President Bazoum, being used as a human shield. If we are not careful, he and his family can be endangered.
”I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in Niger Republic. We recognize the wishes of our people; they do not want war, but that does not mean we can not take bold and decisive action,” the President affirmed.
Commenting on the Abacha loot, the French Presidential Envoy said the repatriation came after the completion of legal processes, saying it was a good achievement.
“It was a long process, but we are glad that it was concluded. Sometimes, justice may be slow, but this is a very good achievement,” she said.
The French official also lauded President Tinubu’s leadership in ECOWAS, saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We are behind you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality.”