A Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana, has advised that President Muhammadu Buhari took drag Switzerland and other countries still holding Nigeria’s stolen funds, instead of continuing to appeal to their leaders to return the slush fund.
Mr. Falana also informed PREMIUM TIMES, that to effectively repatriate the money, “federal government should set up a team of local and foreign lawyers to initiate legal proceedings in the appropriate jurisdictions for the recovery and repatriation of the looted wealth”.
He insisted that western governments would not readily support repatriation of such stolen funds, since their economies were benefiting from such, stressing that “in spite of several promises the British government did not return any fund under former Prime Minister David Cameron. In the same vein, the out-going Barrack Obama administration (in the U.S) will not repatriate a dime to Nigeria”.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has been plundered for several decades by corrupt government officials who prefer hiding stolen funds – billions of dollars – in foreign banks. The included former heads of government and people who held strategic offices and top notch businessmen.
President Buhari has made the repatriation of such funds a top priority of his administration.
Mr. Buhari, at the ongoing 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States, met on the sidelines with President Johann Schneider-Ammann of Switzerland, where he (Buhari) requeted for the urgent release of Nigeria’s stolen funds hidden in the European nation.
Rather than immediately do so, the Swiss government reiterated the conditions it earlier set for the release of the money and such conditions included obtaining official assurances that the money would be judiciously utilised for the public good.
Even the United States Secretary of States, John Kerry, earlier in March, had pledged his country’s commitment to help Nigeria get back its funds hidden in the U.S. banks, but up till now, there is no evidence any such money had been returned.
When the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on tape, in May, describing Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country, President Buhari famously remarked that he would rather want a return of his country’s stolen assets, instead of asking for an apology from Cameron for describing Nigeria in such adjectives.