France agrees to return $150m Abacha loot

The Presidency has said that France will return $150 million looted by former Nigerian military leader, General Sani Abacha.

President Bola Tinubu commended France for this decision, and during his meeting with the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, he expressed his appreciation for the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, which began after his visit to Paris following his inauguration.

“Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money. It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives”, Tinubu said

While emphasising the need to reinforce collaboration on both political and economic fronts, the President welcomed the growing cooperation between the two countries in areas of shared interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education and culture.

The €100 million agreement between France and Nigeria to support the i-DICE program, a Federal Government initiative to encourage investment in the creative arts and information and communications technology, was also acknowledged by Tinubu.

At a previous gathering at Tafawa Balewa House, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters, the agreement was signed by the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs and Dr. Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Technology.

During her speech, the French minister conveyed President Emmanuel Macron’s goodwill and stated that France is willing to increase mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria in a variety of areas.

She then went on to formally invite President Tinubu to the upcoming Paris Peace Forum.

Speaking on the Abacha loot, the French Presidential Envoy said the repatriation followed the completion of legal processes.

“It was a long process, but we are glad that it was concluded. Sometimes, justice may be slow, but this is a very good achievement”, she said.

Colonna also commended President Tinubu’s leadership in handling the affairs of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We are behind you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality”.

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