$23m Abacha Loot: SERAP Sues Buhari, Malami over Failure to Publish Copy of Agreement with US

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the failure to publish details of the agreement the federal government recently signed with the United States for the repatriation of $23 million stolen by the late Dictator Sani Abacha.
Joined in the suit as respondent was the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The United States government had in August signed an agreement with the federal government to repatriate the $23 million Abacha loot to Nigeria. The $23 million added to the $311.7 million Abacha loot repatriated from the US to Nigeria in 2020.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed recently at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP asked the court to direct and compel Buhari and Malami to release and widely published copy of the agreement on the return of the Abacha loot with the US.

SERAP also asked the court to direct and compel the duo to publish details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Atinuke Adejuyigbe, read in part: “The Nigerian constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities. It is in the public interest, and the interest of justice to grant this application. Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognised human right to information.”

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