Nigeria Appeals to US for Repatriation of More Stolen Wealth

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The federal government yesterday, appealed to the government of United States (US) to repatriate more illicit funds transferred from Nigeria through its banking system.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, made the appealed in his remarks at the 6th Session of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission in Abuja.

Tuggar, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa, said there was the need for increased support from the United States, noting that $308 million repatriated in the past was a fraction of Nigeria’s money illegally transferred over time.

He reiterated the Nigerian government’s commitment to utilising the funds for the collective benefit of its citizens, in line with agreements with development partners.

He specifically mentioned that the funds would be allocated to infrastructure development, focusing on projects such as roads, schools, education, and other vital sectors requiring substantial investment.

He also said: “I would like to appreciate the fallout of the Democratic National Convention held in February 2020 in Washington, DC. The governments of Nigeria, the United States, and Jersey signed a tripartite agreement to return to Nigeria the sum of over $308 million of funds stolen from the country.

“I would also urge the U.S. to do more because $308 million is a meagre amount when you look at the resources that Nigeria has lost over the years due to illegal transfers of funds from the country.

“The Nigerian government has committed to using these funds for the benefit of all Nigerians, as agreed with development partners.

“These funds are aimed at developing infrastructure, particularly projects in roads, schools, education, and other sectors of the economy that require this substantial return.”

While noting that the theme for this year’s session was: “Partnership for Mutual Benefit and Development,” has particular relevance and timeliness given the pressing need for such collaboration.

He added that as two major democracies, bolstering ties between these nations holds promise for an even more robust partnership, fostering peace, prosperity, and advancement not only in Africa but globally.

During her remarks, the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Molly Phee, highlighted the pivotal role of security cooperation in the Nigeria-U.S. partnership.

Phee, who represented the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell, stressed that without security, achieving prosperity becomes challenging and human rights are endangered, while underscoring the joint efforts aimed at tackling Nigeria’s multifaceted security challenges, including terrorism, banditry, and piracy, which pose significant threats to its population.

She said, “Security cooperation is another crucial aspect of our relationship. Without security, prosperity will be elusive and human rights threatened. Together, we are working to address the broad security challenges facing Nigeria, terrorism; banditry and piracy threaten its people.

“The U.S. is committed to helping Nigeria build more capable, professional and accountable security forces while ensuring respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms, including for religious minorities.”

Meanwhile, the U.S Deputy Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell is visiting Abuja; London, United Kingdom; and Paris, France between April 29th and May 3rd.

In London, the Deputy Secretary would participate in bilateral meetings on the Indo-Pacific and the AUKUS trilateral security partnership.

In Paris, the Deputy Secretary would attend the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM), chaired by Japan, under the theme of “Co-creating the Flow of Change: Leading Global Discussions with Objective and Reliable Approaches Toward Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.”

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