The Recovery of Abacha’s Stolen Funds
In a significant development, the French Government has repatriated $150 million stolen from Nigeria by the late General Sani Abacha, former military Head of State.
This milestone was announced by the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, during her visit to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.
France’s Role in Repatriation
During her meeting with President Tinubu, Catherine Colonna emphasized that the repatriation of the Abacha loot was the result of extensive legal processes.
She underscored the significance of this achievement, stating, “Sometimes, justice may be slow, but this is a very good achievement.”
France’s Commitment to Collaboration
Catherine Colonna conveyed the goodwill of President Emmanuel Macron and expressed France’s readiness to expand mutually beneficial collaboration with Nigeria across multiple sectors.
She also commended President Tinubu’s leadership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and extended a formal invitation for him to attend the forthcoming Paris Peace Forum.
President Tinubu’s Appreciation
President Tinubu expressed his appreciation to France for the return of the Abacha loot. He also acknowledged the signing of a €100 million agreement between Nigeria and France to support the i-DICE program, a Federal Government initiative aimed at promoting investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Arts Industries.
Bilateral Relations Strengthened
President Tinubu praised the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, highlighting the progress made following his visit to Paris after his inauguration.
He stated, “Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money.
It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives.”
The President emphasized the need to reinforce collaboration on both political and economic fronts.
He welcomed the growing cooperation between the two countries in areas of shared interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture.
Niger Crisis and Diplomatic Efforts
President Tinubu, who chairs the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, discussed the situation in Niger Republic.
He affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to monitoring the situation in the neighboring country and exploring diplomatic channels to prevent bloodshed.
He stated, “I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in Niger Republic,” emphasizing the importance of pursuing a peaceful resolution and avoiding conflict.
International Partnerships for Peace
President Tinubu reiterated Nigeria’s determination to galvanize international partners in seeking a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger Republic.
He recognized the desires of the people for peace and stressed the need for bold and decisive action while managing potential risks and ensuring the safety of democratically-elected leaders.