Covid-19 would have been tougher without Abacha loot— Presidency

The Presidency has said the repatriation of the money stolen by the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, has helped the Federal Government in the fight against COVID-19  and providing infrastructure.

In a statement on Tuesday in reaction to the latest receipt of $311m Abacha loot from the United States, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Garba Shehu said the coronavirus fight would have been tougher without the money.

The receipt of the Money was confirmed on Monday by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami. 

The Presidency said, “These funds have already been allocated, and will be used in full for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development, the 2nd  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  for  future projects.

 “Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity  for  some three million homes – over 10 million citizens in our country.

“The stolen money and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland provides  an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.”

The Presidency further noted that the recovered money from the US and similar funds previously recovered from other jurisdictions had helped the country to address developmental challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shehu said, “Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320m – 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.

“Without these funds, the fight against COVID-19 would be even tougher.”

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