News & Conflicts

The Nigerian Government is sharing money, apply here

Last week, the government of Nigeria announced that it would, starting from July, distribute the returned loot by the Swiss authorities. The money, stolen by Abacha in the 1990s, is due to be given to around 300,000 households, with each getting around $14, 5,000 Naira equivalent monthly. President Muhammadu Buhari made the recovery of stolen assets a major part of his 2015 election campaign and now many fear that the handouts could be a way to influence next year’s election. Meanwhile, SERAP – Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has said the plan by the government of Nigeria to share the $350million loot to an estimated 300,000 households is “mistargeted and would not bring any tangible benefits to the beneficiaries.”

“THE RETURN OF THE ABACHA LOOT IS A CHANCE FOR PRESIDENT BUHARI TO COMMIT TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE 2016 JUDGMENT BY JUSTICE MOHAMMED IDRIS, WHICH ORDERED HIS GOVERNMENT TO PUBLISH DISCLOSE THE SPENDING OF RECOVERED LOOT SINCE 1999 BY PAST AND PRESENT GOVERNMENTS TILL DATE, AS WELL AS DETAILS OF PROJECTS ON WHICH THE FUNDS WERE SPENT; AND TO VIGOROUSLY PUSH THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO PASS THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME BILL. BUHARI SHOULD MAKE THESE HAPPEN BEFORE THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTIONS IF HE IS TO TRULY DEMONSTRATE HIS OFT-REPEATED COMMITMENT TO FIGHT GRAND CORRUPTION.” – SERAP

The cash payments are part of the Nigeria National Social Safety Net Program which helps poor families and Switzerland is believed to have returned about $1bn to Nigeria over the last 10 years. Roberto Balzaretti, one of the Swiss officials involved in the negotiations with Nigeria, reportedly said that the returned loot would be paid in installments and in small amounts from July under the supervision of the World Bank. Now the real question is ‘what will be the selection criteria for these 300,000 denizens or ghosts-citizens?’

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