Abacha Loot, Gov Bagudu and The Presidency


By Eddy Odivwri

It must be a tribute to high degree of graft and roguery that about 23 years after his death, his tons of loots are still being recovered from all parts of the world.

The latest being the recent recovery of $308 million from the island of Jersey, United State of America.

It is amazing that late Gen Sani Abacha was such a devoted thief that there was clearly no difference between his personal pocket and the national till.
The total sum of the recovered Abacha loot thus far is more than the annual budget of some five West African countries put together.

Many are wont to ask what the recovered loots have been used for, just as many would posit that the loots have been re-looted by sitting government officials. Those who believe the latter are likely to site the foggy so-called agreement between the Federal Government and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.

It is interesting that it was the United States Information Service (USIS) that literally blew the whistle on the plan to concede $100 million out of the $308 million so recovered, to Gov Bagudu.

It is even more curious that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami was already preparing to ensure the release of the $100million to Gov Bagudu, allegedly because there was an agreement between the then Obasanjo administration and then Senator Bagudu on his share of the loot.

The USIS had inferred in an earlier report that Bagudu himself was part of the people who helped to loot the said amount, while he served as an aide to the late Gen Sani Abacha.

All along, former President Obasanjo has not spoken to confirm whether or not there was indeed such an agreement. But without pre-empting him, the understanding may have been that conceding such huge amount to Bagudu is on the condition that he (Bagudu) will provide all relevant details and information that will lead to the eventual recovery of the sum.

While that may sound expedient at the time, it remains unclear why Bagudu need to be rewarded at all, let alone with such huge amount. Many think he should be held liable and prosecuted for aiding and abetting that degree of financial pillage.in the first place.

It is curious enough that it is people with such baggage that are in position of authority in Nigeria, yet it is even weird to imagine that they will yet be looking to rape the treasury further while we all stand aside and look. Never!

However, it is relieving that the presidency has explained that the said amount ($100 million) will not be given to Bagudu, despite the agreement reached earlier; insisting that the recovered sum will be used for the 2nd Niger Bridge, Lagos –Ibadan road and the Abuja Kaduna road.
I suspect that but for the alarm raised by the USIS, the deal between Malami and his Kebbi brother, Gov Bagudu, would have sailed through. And Nigerians would not have known what transpired.

It is not out of place to presume that the huge sums so far recovered from the Abacha loots plus all the ones the EFCC has recovered, remain befuddled in similar cloudy circumstances. It makes epic mockery of the fight against corruption being championed by the Buhari administration.