Good People, it don happen. Dictator Sani Abacha continues to fund the Nigerian treasury with the trickle of his loots. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has confirmed that Nigeria received about $311 million of the Abacha loot from the US and Jersey: “The amount increased significantly from over $308 million as stated in a press release in February to over $311 million because of the interest that accrued from February 3, 2020, to 28th April, 2020, when the fund was transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.” My hope is that the money is not re-looted! Now, the government wants you to get involved to ensure that re-looting does not happen.
“The process for the engagement of the CSO monitor has already commenced with the adverts placed in two Nigeria newspapers – Daily Trust and The PUNCH (4th March, 2020 and a Notice of Extension on 17th April, 2020), the Federal Tender Journal (9th and 23rd March, 2020), the Economist (14th March, 2020). The advert can also be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice.
This money is coming when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) just noted that 83 million Nigerians live in poverty. In Sokoto, 88% of the population are poor! I don’t really believe that because NBS is measuring poverty based on formalized assets. The richest people in my village are not the teachers but people with lands which they lease yearly. Because those records are not in any government data, there is a tendency to record them as poor even though most are loaded well ahead of the N30,000-monthly wage teacher. In Sokoto, whenever I go there, I see camels. You may think those people are poor because they have no bank accounts and do not earn formal income, but they have goats, cows, etc. Of course, this is not to say there is no poverty; my point is that 88% of Sokoto citizens are not poor!
About 40 per cent of Nigerians (or 82.9 million people) live in poverty, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics said in its latest report.
The NBS in its 2019 Poverty and Inequality report also said the poverty rate varied across states. It is highest in Sokoto where almost 90 per cent (87.73 per cent) of the population are poor and lowest in Lagos where 4.5 per cent of the population live in poverty.
Comment: I understand your position. My suggestion remains. Back it up with researched data. If you present a definitive alternative that is a function of on the ground reality, nobody will argue further. Even the world bank will put it in perspective. But in the absence of that, 88% of Sakwatto people could realistically be poor. I believe the data, because its based on poverty and not extreme poverty which are very different. Base on my experience, I believe that much people are poor in Sakwatto. Just leave some allowance for some doubt. Its a possibility.
My Response: No issues, we are not arguing over the data. You keep bringing up data. The issue is interpretation using the same data. U.S. has poverty rate of about 14% using govt data https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-266.html . A man that makes $1k monthly in U.S. is poor but that guy is “rich” in Nigeria. A man that makes $1 in Sokoto is better off than a man that makes $1.50 in Victoria Island.
So, using Lagos benchmark and throw it across Nigeria does not cut it. Yes, using the same data, we can come to different conclusions. I do not need new data, I just need to question the data in my own way. If I am called, I will defend. The $2 or so that World Bank uses makes no flat sense because it does not account for earning powers and living expenses across rural and urban areas.
If you live in mud house in Abia state and earn $1.90 per day, you may be better than someone who is NOT poor in Lagos but earning $2.1.
This will be my last word on this, thanks for the debate.
STATEMENT ON THE RETURN OF THE ABACHA STOLEN MILLIONS FROM THE UNITED STATES AND JERSEY
On Monday, May 4, 2020, some $311 million US Dollars – stolen from the citizens of Nigeria during the Abacha regime – were safely returned to our country from the United States.
These funds have already been allocated, and will be used in full, for vital and decades-overdue infrastructure development: The second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways – creating tens of thousands of Nigerian construction jobs and local skills, which can then be useful in future projects.
Part of the funds will also be invested in the Mambilla Power Project which, when completed, will provide electricity to some three million homes – over ten million citizens – in our country.
The receipt of these stolen monies – and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.
Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – are 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.
The latest return is a testament to the growing and deepening relationship between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.
Without the cooperation both from the UK Government, the US Executive branch and US Congress, we would not have achieved the return of these funds at all.
For years many countries deemed successive Nigerian administrations as too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies – so they did not return the funds.
Today, US, UK and other jurisdictions have found the partnership with the nation of Nigeria they can finally trust.
The Buhari Administration is committed to – and is enacting – total and zero tolerance to corruption in politics and public administration.
The days when 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.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
May 5, 2020