Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight got a great boost on Tuesday, March 9, when the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, and Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, signed an agreement to return the public funds looted by former Delta governor, James Ibori.
Details obtained by Legit.ng indicate that the British government has agreed to return to Nigeria £4.2million being part (first tranche) of stolen assets recovered from the former governor.
However, Legit.ng has learnt that the federal government will take possession of the fund and use it to finance three “legacy” projects, according to Malami’s remarks during the signing of the MOU.
Below is the list of three legacy projects
1. The second Niger Bridge
2. Abuja-Kano Expressway
3. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Legit.ng gathers that the Nigeria Social Investment Authority will coordinate the administration of the funds while an undisclosed civil society organisation has been engaged to monitor/supervise the expenditure of the recovered funds.
However, the House of Representatives has faulted the federal government’s plan to spend the £4.2million James Ibori loot.
The lawmakers on Wednesday, March 10, asked the federal government to ensure that recovered loot is returned to the Delta state government.
Meanwhile, this is not the only recovered fund being earmarked to finance the listed legacy projects.
Barely a year ago, the attorney-general of the federation, Malami, debunked claims that the federal government planned to share the Abacha loot with some persons in the country.
Malami said that the Nigerian government is committed to the tripartite agreement reached by the United State of America (USA) and the Island of Jessy for the repatriation of over $300 million funds.
The AGF and minister of justice pointed out that according to the signed agreement, the funds will be used for the construction of the Abuja-Kano, Lagos-Ibadan expressways and the second Niger bridge.
In another report, the personal assistant to the Nigerian president on new media, Bashir Ahmad, has suggested that the Second Niger Bridge when completed could serve as one of the lofty achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration.
Ahmad in a tweet on Sunday, May 17, stated that the Second Niger Bridge after its completion will be a gift that will keep the Buhari's administration in the minds of Nigerians for a long time.
His comments, however, drew some criticisms from some Nigerians who faulted his narrative on the grounds that the money used for the project was paid by taxpayers.
Nurudeen Lawal is a Legit.ng journalist passionate about fact-checking/verification journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature-in-English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. As Politics Editor, Nurudeen mostly writes on Nigeria’s political and socio-economic developments. He has attended different workshops, conferences and training on fact-checking and digital reporting, among others. Learn more about him on Twitter, @Nurudeen Lawal_