Late military dictator and Head of State, General Sani Abacha, must have looted so much from Nigeria’s treasury and stashed away in foreign banks.
With the torrent of recoveries and repatriations of money to Nigeria no one can tell with certainty how much he looted, because since 1999, so much money has been returned in chunks.
So far, the Abacha loot has been repatriated to Nigeria 14 times. Below is the number of times the Abacha loot has be repatriated to Nigeria since 1999.
1. In July 1999, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo discovered and froze $420 million hidden away by the late Abacha.
2. In May 2002, Obasanjo cut a deal with the Abacha family for the recovery of $1.2 billion.
3. In November 2003, Jersey Island recovered $149 million in the loot.
4. In September 2005, Switzerland returned $458 million in cash and $2 billion in assets.
5. In March 2014, Switzerland again returned $380 million purportedly belonging to the late military strongman.
6. In June 2014, Liechtenstein returned $227 million in Abacha loot.
7. In August 2014, the United States America returned $480 million stashed away in that country by Abacha.
8. In 2016, Switzerland announced that it had returned $723 million so far to the Nigerian government from the Abacha loot.
9. In December 2017, Switzerland returned $322 million more of Abacha loot to the Nigerian government.
10. In May 2019, £211 million Abacha loot was discovered in a bank in Jersey, the United States of America.
11. In January 2020, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved an agreement with the Island of Jersey and the United States of America for the repatriation of a fresh $321 million found in a bank in Jersey.
12. In May 2020, the government announced that it had received $311,797,866.11 Abacha loot from the government of the United States of America and Jersey.
13. In August 2020, the government of the Republic of Ireland repatriated €5.5 million looted by the late Abacha.
14. In August 2022, the United States government repatriated $23 million more of Abacha loot.
So far, an estimated $4 billion in cash and $2 billion in assets have so far been recovered from the Abacha loot from 1999 to date. It is unthinkable how one man could steal so much from the nation’s coffers in the period within which he was at the helm of affairs—from 1993 to 1998. But sadly, that is our reality.
However, there is every reason to believe that much more of the loot might not have been discovered yet.