The Presidency on Tuesday said the returned $311m Abacha loot had been allocated.
A presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the funds would be used “in full for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development, including the second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressways, thereby creating tens of thousands of Nigerian construction jobs and local skills, which can then be useful in future projects.”
He said part of the funds would be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, would provide electricity to some three million homes, approximately over ten million citizens in our country.
He said the receipt of the stolen monies and the hundreds of millions more that had already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland were an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.
Shehu said the sum of $320 million returned last year from Switzerland was already being used for the government’s free school feeding scheme, a stipend for millions of disadvantaged citizens, and grain grants for those in severe food hardship.
He said the fight against COVID-19 would be even tougher without these funds.
He said many countries refused to return the stolen funds to the country for years because they deemed successive Nigerian administrations as “too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies”
Shehu said the latest return was a testament to the “growing and deepening relationship” between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.
He said Nigeria would not have achieved the return of these funds at all without the cooperation both from the UK Government, the US Executive branch and US Congress.
He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration was committed to “total and zero tolerance to corruption in politics and public administration”.
“The days when the government was seen and used by the political class as their personal ATM to empty are over.
“The time of better governance and clean hands in the affairs of state is here to stay”.