NIGERIA, Abuja – A Nigerian court has directed President Bola Tinubu’s government to disclose how much in stolen funds it has recovered from late military ruler Sani Abacha and how the money was used, court documents showed on Sunday.
Abacha ruled Africa’s most populous nation and top oil exporter from 1993 until his death in 1998, during which time Transparency International estimated that he took up to $5 billion of public money. He was never charged.
A Nigerian rights group asked the High Court in the federal capital Abuja to force the government to account for Abacha’s loot since the country returned to civilian rule in 1999.
Over the years, the United States, Switzerland and British dependency of Jersey are among those who have returned hundreds of millions of dollars linked to Abacha.
The court ruled that the government should disclose the “exact amount of money stolen by General Sani Abacha from Nigeria and the total amount of Abacha loot recovered and all agreements signed on same since the return of democracy in 1999 till date.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), which brought the challenge, said it had on Sunday written to Tinubu calling on him to obey the ruling.
Tinubu’s spokesman Dele Alake did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
Nigeria has previously said it would use some of the Abacha funds for infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges.