The United States Government has warned that it will recover the over $308million looted and stashed abroad by former Head of State, the late Gen Sani Abacha, if it is re-stolen in Nigeria.
The threat followed a February 4 repatriation pact the Federal Government signed with the Americans and the government of Jersey to return the money.
The pact was sealed 22 years after Abacha’s death and after almost two decades of litigation involving the three parties.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which partook in what is being regarded as the world’s largest asset recovery across borders, said the foreigners warned against the money being re-looted.
The Commission’s Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, stated this in Lagos last Friday during an anti-corruption walk organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Olukoyede said: “Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be on the team that went to recover $308million for Nigeria. They are from Washington.
“You know what the Oyinbos told us when we wanted to sign the treaty? They had the audacity to look into our eyes and said: ‘If you people steal this money again, we will collect it back from you.’
“I stood up against them, I said: ‘We are not a corrupt nation. A few people might have stolen money, but Nigeria is not a corrupt nation. We have a lot of youths who are not corrupt.
“And you know it is not their fault, (they said that) because they have seen recovered loot being looted again.”
Public money looted by Abacha during his five years in power is estimated to be about $5 billion.
Since 1998, Nigeria has been finding the loot mostly in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and New Jersey.
The anti-corruption walk, tagged: “Nigerian Youth Walk against Corruption” held simultaneously across the country.
The Lagos version featured a walk across Lagos Island and Ikoyi and included EFCC staff, NYSC members and officials, among others.
Olukoyede also advised young people to be diligent and to shun corruption.
He said: We have arrested so many youths. If we keep putting youths in jail, what is going to be the future of Nigeria?
“So, we want to encourage you; where ever you see corrupt practice, say no to it. Resist it. If anyone is trying to lure you to it, say no. You can win by integrity. Integrity pays….
“Very soon as Youth Corp members will start job-hunting. But where are the jobs? Why aren’t you getting the jobs? A few people have plundered the country’s resources.
‘But let me assure them that at the EFCC, we are not relenting. Let corruption fight back, we will stand against it. We will fight corruption. We will send them to jail. We are not going to give them any chance again in Nigeria.”