Federal High Court Orders Disclosure of $5 Billion Abacha Loot Spending Details: Landmark Ruling Promotes Transparency and Accountability

…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media. In a significant ruling, the Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an order for the disclosure of the spending particulars concerning the late General Sani Abacha’s approximately $5 billion loot.


The court instructed the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari to reveal the details.

The judgment was delivered in response to a Freedom of Information suit brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

Order to Disclose Abacha Loot Details:

Justice James Kolawole Omotosho, in his ruling, directed President Bola Tinubu’s government to disclose the exact amount of money stolen by General Sani Abacha from Nigeria, the total amount of Abacha loot recovered, and all agreements signed regarding the loot by the previous administrations.


The judge mandated the government to furnish SERAP with the complete spending details of the $5 billion Abacha loot within seven days of the judgment.

Disclosure of Project Execution:

In addition to revealing the spending details, Justice Omotosho ordered the government to disclose information about the projects executed using the Abacha loot, including the locations of these projects, as well as the names of companies and contractors involved.

The judge also called for specific information regarding the roles played by the World Bank and other partners in executing projects funded by the Abacha loot during the administrations of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan, and Buhari.

Minister of Finance’s Excuse Dismissed:

Justice Omotosho dismissed the objections raised by the Federal Government and upheld SERAP’s arguments.

He deemed the Ministry of Finance’s excuse of not having the records of the Abacha loot and its expenditure as invalid, citing section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act.


The court held the government responsible for failing to provide details of projects executed, locations, and the names of companies and contractors involved in projects funded by the Abacha loot.

Court’s Judgment and Government’s Counter Affidavit:

The court, in its judgment, found that the Federal Government’s 14 paragraph Counter Affidavit did not sufficiently address SERAP’s claims.

The judge emphasized the importance of citizens’ right to question transparency and accountability in governance, as well as their right to access information about the expenditure of public funds.

Justice Omotosho held that SERAP, as a registered organization in Nigeria, was entitled to the spending details of the Abacha loot and need not show any special interest.

SERAP’s Call for Immediate Compliance:

SERAP, in a letter dated July 8, 2023, addressed to President Tinubu, urged immediate compliance with the court’s judgment.


The organization emphasized that implementing the judgment would signify a commitment to the rule of law, transparency, and accountability, setting a precedent against impunity for corruption.

SERAP expressed trust in President Tinubu’s dedication to the rule of law and urged prompt action in releasing the spending details of the recovered Abacha loot.


The Federal High Court’s judgment has ordered the disclosure of spending details related to the Abacha loot, which had been amassed during General Sani Abacha’s regime.

The ruling emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability in governance and urges the government to comply promptly with the court’s decision.

By doing so, President Tinubu’s government would demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law and restore trust and confidence in Nigeria’s judiciary.



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