- Buba Galadima has said former dictator Sani Abacha did not loot the billions of dollars being currently repatriated back into the country
- Galadima said Abacha stashed the money abroad ahead of an impending sanction by the US government
- The controversial politician added that Abacha made the move based on the advice of some of his colleague leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi
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Buba Galadima, one of Nigeria's foremost politicians, has revealed the alleged reasons why former military dictator, Sani Abacha, stashed billions of dollars belonging to the Nigerian government out of the country.
Since the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria has been receiving billions of dollars reportedly looted by Abacha from foreign governments.
The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration recently repatriated $311 million from the popular Abacha loot.
However, in an interview with The Nation, Galadima said Abacha did not loot the money as widely believed by Nigerians.
According to Galadima, Abacha stashed the money abroad over the likelihood of the United States sanctioning Nigeria.
He said the late military dictator was advised to save some money outside the country by some of his colleague presidents around the world so there won't be panic if the US eventually Nigeria's account.
Among those who advised Abacha, according to Galadima, were Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
His words: "I have a completely different idea about what you called Abacha loot. I know as a fact that at that time, Abacha with knowledge of key members of his government, who knew about this money being stacked out, he was rightly advised by some of his colleague presidents around the world.
"Saddam Hussein was one of them. Muammar Gaddafi was one of them. They advised him that there was the likelihood that the US could sanction Nigeria and as such he should save money outside that could last the country, at least, six months, even Nigeria’s account was blocked by the US, there won’t be panic."
Galadima noted that he was a key figure in the Abacha administration, adding that he served as the director-general of the National Maritime Authority under the late dictator.
"I was a key figure in that government. I was one of the so-called Abacha boys if you must know. I was the director-general, National Maritime Authority, whereby export and import to Nigeria, including crude, were directly coming under my desk. So, am in position to talk about Abacha and the so-called loot," he added.
Galadima insisted that the views by Nigerians that Abacha looted the money are based on ignorance
"Yes of course. It is based on ignorance. But the truth of the matter is that we are running a constitutional government called democracy. People can hold different opinion provided it does not encroach on another’s liberty. What I have said to you now is my own opinion based on what I knew of the government and the man at that time," the outspoken politician said.
"If they say Abacha was a monster, my answer is, at least he held the country together and everybody knew you could not trample on our laws without being dealt with," he added.
Speaking on the repatriation of the money, Galadima faulted the Buhari government on how it plans to spend the money.
He claimed that a spokesperson of the government whose name he did not mention said the money will be spent on palliative while the attorney general, Abubakar Malami, said the money will be spent on infrastructure.
"That is double-speak. And they should know, no matter who speaks for the government, Nigerians do not trust this government," he said.
Galadima, a former ally of President Buhari who is now his staunch critic said the Nigerian government must secure the approval of the National Assembly before spending the money.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that the presidency clarified that only three of five priority projects of the Buhari administration will benefit from the recently repatriated $311 million Abacha loot.
The clarification was contained in a statement released by the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Wednesday, May 13.
Shehu clarified that the remaining two of the five priority projects, Mambilla Power and East-West Road projects, will not benefit from the repatriated loot.
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