Compel FG To Tell Nigerians Exact Money Abacha Stole – SERAP Tells Court

The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project [SERAP) has asked the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja to compel the federal government to among other things, disclose to Nigerians the exact amount of money looted by former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, saying its request was in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation are the first and second respondents in the suit.

In the court process, seen by our correspondent, SERAP is praying for the following orders:

“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.

“Details of the projects executed with the recovered funds, locations of any such projects and the names of companies and contractors that caried or carrying out the projects.

“The Details of specific roles played by the World Bank and other partners in the execution of any projects funded with Abacha loot since 1999.”

The case was to be heard on Thursday before Justice Taiwo Taiwo, but the judge told SERAP’s counsel, Opeyemi Owolabi, to notify the Attorney General’s Office of the suit before it could be heard.

Subsequently, he adjourned to 21 April for hearing.

According to SERAP, the Finance Minister has “so far failed, refused and neglected to respond to grant the Applicant’s request”.

But for the AGF’s office, it claimed it was not yet satisfied with the information it provided on the matter.

As such, it argued that if the court orders the respondents to comply with its request, it will “offer the government an important opportunity of being open and transparent with the citizenry” as well as identify whether corrupt practices were taking place under the guise of spending the recovered funds on developmental projects.