By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Presidency said yesterday that returned $311million, which was part of the money allegedly stolen by the late former Head of State, Gen. Sanni Abacha, has been allocated for infrastructure development in the country.
It also said that part of the returned loot in 2019 was being used for grain grants and free school feeding programmes, adding that without the returned Abacha funds, the fight against COVID-19 would be even tougher.
The Presidency specifically said the recently returned funds had already been allocated for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development, such as the second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways and in the Mambilla Power Project. This was stated in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja.
The statement, titled ‘’The return of the Abacha stolen millions from the United States and Jersey “ noted that the latest returned money and the ones before it was a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and that of the United States.
The statement read: “ On Monday, May 4, 2023, 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.
“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – 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.”
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