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Abacha Loot: Days When Government Was Used As Personal ATM Are Over – Presidency

The Presidency has said that the days when government was seen and used by the political class “as their personal ATM to empty” are over.

In a statement on Tuesday, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, said the time of “better governance and clean hands” in the affairs of state “is here to stay.”

He said the $311 million US Dollars (funds looted by former Head of State, Sani Abacha during his military regime) repatriated to Nigeria from the United States on Monday was testament to “growing and deepening” relationship between the Nigerian and American governments.

Shehu said those funds had already been allocated, and “will be used in full, for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development.”

The presidential spokesperson named such infrastructure as: The second 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 in future projects.

Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu

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

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

“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – 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.”

“The latest return is a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

“Without the cooperation both from the UK Government, the US Executive branch and US Congress, we would not have achieved the return of these funds at all.

“For years many countries deemed successive Nigerian administrations as too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies – so they did not return the funds.

“Today, US, UK and other jurisdictions have found the partnership with the nation of Nigeria they can finally trust.”

The presidential spokesperson added that the Buhari Administration is committed to – and is enacting – “total and zero tolerance” to corruption in politics and public administration.

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