The United States government has returned another $20 million to Nigeria as part of the loot traced to Sani Abacha, former Nigerian military leader and his co-conspirators.
It will be recalled that the US government, in August, signed an agreement with the Federal Government to repatriate $23 million tagged ‘Abacha-5’.
In a statement on Thursday, the US government said, “this repatriation brings the total amount forfeited and returned by the United States in this case to approximately $332.4 million.”
“In 2014, a judgment was entered in the District of Columbia ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500 million located in accounts around the world, as the result of a civil forfeiture complaint for more than $625 million traceable to money laundering involving the proceeds of general Abacha’s corruption,” the US government said.
“In 2020, the department repatriated over $311.7 million of the forfeited assets that had been located in the Bailiwick of Jersey. Last year, the U.K. government enforced the U.S. judgment against the additional over $20.6 million.
“Under the agreement signed in August, the United States agreed to transfer 100% of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that were previously authorised by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian legislature.
“The $20,637,622.27 marks a slight reduction from the $23 million announced in August due primarily to exchange rate fluctuations between British pounds sterling and U.S. dollars.
“The funds governed by this agreement will help finance the second Niger bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Abuja-Kano road – investments that will benefit the citizens of each of these important regions in Nigeria.”
BREAKING: Aisha Buhari bows to pressure, withdraws case against Aminu
Following unrelenting pressure and condemnation by activists, Amnesty International, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other citizens, First Lady Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn the case against the final year student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Mohammed.
The prosecution counsel Fidelis Ogbobe, withdrew the case on behalf of Mrs Buhari, said the First Lady, being the mother of the nation, decided to withdraw the case, following the intervention of “well-meaning Nigerians.”
Moving a motion for the withdrawal of the case, Ogbobe cited section 108 subsection 2(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court commended Mrs Buhari for withdrawing the case.
Halilu, while issuing the release warrant, called on parents to always monitor their children to avoid recurrence
According to a police report, Mr Muhammed was arrested at Federal University Dutse on November 18, 2022, after Mrs Buhari instructed a team of police detectives to track him down.
The Presidency had earlier barred visitors from visiting inmates at the Suleja Correctional Centre, Niger State, following the arrest of Aminu.
Amnesty International Nigeria had also condemned the arrest and alleged torture of Aminu Muhammed, adding that the 500-level undergraduate of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa must be released and the charges against him, which it described as bogus, be dropped. The PUNCH reports.
Following reports that he has allegedly been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including severe beatings, since being detained, AI said, “The Nigerian authorities must urgently release Aminu Muhammed and drop all charges against him. He is a student accused of defaming Aisha Buhari, the First Lady of Nigeria, on Twitter.”
Collection of PVCs commences December 12 – INEC
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, said that citizens who participated in the voters’ registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections would be able to collect their Permanent Voters Cards from December 12, 2022.
This was made known in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Commission met, on Thursday, December 1 2022, and deliberated on a number of issues, including the dates for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards nationwide.
The Commission held a retreat in Lagos with all the Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory from November 28 to December 2, 2022. At the retreat, the Commission finalised the procedure as well as the timetable for the collection of PVCs.
The statement which was signed by the commissioner in charge of voters education, Festus Okoye partly reads, “Consequently, the Commission has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 Local Government Offices of the Commission throughout the Federation.
“The Commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023. Those that are unable to collect their PVCs at the Local Government Offices of the Commission can do so at the Registration Areas/Electoral Wards. After the 15th of January 2023, the exercise will revert to the Local Government Offices of the Commission until January 22, 2023.
“All eligible and valid registrants can collect their PVCs from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
“All the RECs and Electoral Officers have been directed to convene a meeting with the critical stakeholders in their States and Local Government Areas, including traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, community-based organisations and the media to brief them on the modalities for the collection of the PVCs in order to sensitise the public and ensure seamless exercise.
“Similarly, RECs and EOs have also been directed to set up help desks to assist registrants with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for immediate redress.
“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from January to July 2022. In making the cards available for collection, the Commission is also working to ensure that the process is simple and hitch-free for Nigerians.”
Former President Jonathan accepts ambassadorial role
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).
Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.
AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.
Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.
“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.
“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.
“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.
“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”
AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.
“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”
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