Sharing $322M Abacha Loot Among Households Is Mis-Targeted Spending -SERAP

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said the plan by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to share the $350million (around N115 billion) loot recovered from former military ruler, late Gen. Sani Abacha among estimated 300,000 households, with each getting around $14 (around N5,000) a month is “mis-targeted and would not bring any tangible benefits to the beneficiaries.”

This was contained in a statement by Timothy Adewale, SERAP Deputy Director, saying that the plan to share the loot among households is mere tokenism and would neither have significant impact on poverty alleviation nor satisfy the twin objectives of justice and development.

The Federal Government announced last week that it would starting from July distribute the returned loot by the Swiss authorities to around 300,000 households, with each getting around $14 a month.

Reacting, SERAP said, “The authorities have a legal obligation under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party to make sure that the returned Abacha loot is properly and efficiently used, both from the viewpoint of using asset recovery as a tool of ensuring justice to victims of corruption and breaking the cycle of grand corruption.

“But the plan to share the loot among households is mere tokenism and would neither have significant impact on poverty alleviation nor satisfy the twin objectives of justice and development.

“Rather than spending the loot to fund the National Social Safety Net Program (NAASP), President Buhari should, within the framework of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), create a central recovery account/trust funds, with oversight mechanisms to ensure repatriated funds are transparently and accountably spent to invest in tangible projects that would improve access of those living in poverty to essential public services such as water, education and health.

“Distributing N5,000 to household would neither improve the socio-economic conditions of beneficiaries nor achieve the enduring value of a more transparent and robust system to manage recovered loot.

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