Abacha Loot: SERAP Sues Buhari Over Failure To Publish Agreement With U.S.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to publish copy and details of the agreement the Federal Government recently signed with the United States for the repatriation of $23 million stolen by the late dictator, Sani Abacha.
In the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1700/2022 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari and Mr. Abubakar Malami to release and widely publish copy of the agreement on the Abacha loot with the U.S.”
SERAP is also asking the court to “direct and compel President Buhari and Mr. Abubakar Malami to publish details of the transparency and accountability mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure that the repatriated funds are not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that “the Nigerian constitution 1999 [as amended], the Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations impose transparency obligations on the Federal Government to widely publish the agreement on the $23 million Abacha loot.
“Publishing a copy of the agreement with the U.S. would allow Nigerians to scrutinise it, and to monitor the spending of the repatriated loot to ensure that the money is not mismanaged, diverted or re-stolen.
“The repatriated $23 million Abacha loot is vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. Substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been mismanaged, diverted, or re-stolen, and in any case remain unaccounted for.
“Publishing a copy of the agreement would ensure that persons with public responsibilities are answerable to the people for the performance of their duties including the management of repatriated loot.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms. Atinuke Adejuyigbe, read in part: “The Nigerian constitution, Freedom of Information Act, and the country’s international obligations rest on the principle that citizens should have access to information regarding their government’s activities.”