The United Kingdom has joined the United States of America in blocking the Nigerian authority from paying over N40 billion ($110 million) from funds recovered from the Late Despot Genera Sani Abacha to a Northern APC Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Bagudu, governor of Kebbi State, was an Investment Adviser to the Late Dictator until Abacha’s death in 1998.
If converted to naira, the money investment portfolio is worth N40,370,000,000 at N367 exchange rate.
A report by Bloomberg, said while the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is ready to implement an agreement entered into between Federal Government and Bagudu, it’s gathered that authorities in the UK and USA were not in support of what has been described as seemingly dubious agreement.
It was reported that the portfolios worth 141 million euros ($155 million) linked to Abacha and held in trust for Bagudu and his family.
UK and US authorities opposition to “dubious” deal
While Nigeria is seeking the approval of a UK court to take ownership of the assets before returning 70% of the proceeds to Bagudu under the terms of a 2018 deal, authorities in US and UK believed that the amount should be used for human capital development or channelled into major infrastructural development.
According to a motion filed by Bagudu’s brother, Ibrahim, to the district court for the District of Columbia in the US capital on March 30, which the UK government’s National Crime Agency is opposing, Bloomberg reported.
Recalled that in February 2020, the US Department of Justice maintained that its Nigerian counterpart is hindering its efforts to recover the allegedly laundered money from the UK.
Bagudu as one of the Abacha’s networks
The US Department of Justice had earlier pointed out that Bagudu was one of the networks late Sani Abacha used as front to siphon the oil money from Nigeria’s treasury through his reign from 1994 to 1998.
Nigeria’s authority entered into an agreement with Bagudu in 2003 during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
But the US and UK want Buhari, who won 2015 presidential polls on the praise to fight corruption, to utilize the money for something that would add value to capital projects in the country.
Abacha and his allies stole at least $5 billion within five years
Abacha’s government looted several billions of naira within five years he was in power. It’s estimated that not less than $5 billion was looted by the military regime of Sani Abacha.
Bloomberg report made reference to a US court which allowed Bagudu to return $163 million to Nigeria “without admitting to wrongdoing,” according to US court filings.
In return, the government dropped all outstanding civil and criminal claims against him.
Buhari’s involvement in a new agreement
Despite the allegation leveled against Bagudu outside Nigeria’s soil, he found his way back into political power in 2009 as he won election as a member of Nigeria’s Upper Legislative Chamber before winning Kebbi State governorship election a few years after.
A reputable online investigative platform The Premium Times once published a detailed report on Bagudu, how he was indicted in the US before contesting and winning governorship election.
The government of Buhari struck a new agreement in 2018, meaning Bagudu could be 98.5 million euros richer if the the APC-led government implemented the accord.
At the time of this report, it’s gathered that Nigeria’s application in a UK court is pending and a freezing order is still in place.
Is Bagudu alone?
From North to the South and to the East, Nigeria is a country that is blessed with resources, but bad leaders who mismanaged her resources make large number of its population wallow in abject poverty.
At least 50% of sitting and ex governors in Nigeria have questions to answer by the country’s anti-corruption agency EFCC.
Pathetically, most of them get away with their impunity because of their closeness to Aso Rock and access to illegitimate money to get away with their financial misbehaviour.