EXCLUSIVE: Swiss govt to hold talks with Nigeria on repatriation of fresh $321million Abacha loot

Former Head of State, Sani Abacha
Former Head of State, Sani Abacha

Representatives of the Swiss government are expected in Nigeria on Tuesday to discuss with their Nigerian counterparts the repatriation of another tranche of huge public funds stolen by late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

The delegation will be led by the Swiss Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Burkhalter, who is expected to meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, over the repatriation of the $321million confiscated from the family of late former head of state, Sani Abacha.

An official of the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, Pascal Holliger, confirmed the visit exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

“Yes, our foreign Minister is on his way to Nigeria on Tuesday,” Mr Holliger said. “He is coming on a working visit to Nigeria. During the visit, he would open the Consular General’s office in Lagos and meet with the Vice President of Nigeria and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss the issue of the repatriation of the second tranche of the Abacha loot,” he said.

But some Swiss and Nigerian civil society groups, who got wind of the impending visit, dispatched a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding that his government give assurance that the $321million that would be returned to Nigeria by the Swiss government would be put to good use.

Copies of the petition titled “Restitution of Abacha funds: Swiss and Nigerian NGOs demand guarantees,” was sent to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and her foreign affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and minister justice, Abubakar Malami.

A copy of the petition obtained by PREMIUM TIMES was also sent to the World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, and the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs Office for International Public Law (DDIP) in Berne, Switzerland.

Signed by representatives of eight civil society groups, the petitioners expressed concerns that the fund could disappear just like the repatriated funds by the government of Liechtenstein in 2014 if government did not take steps to guarantee transparency and accountability.

“Swiss and Nigerian NGOs demand that the authorities of these two countries, together with the World Bank, take all measures necessary to guarantee that these funds be returned in a manner that is transparent and benefits the general population of the country, the people that were initially cheated out of their money,” the petition said.

The groups said their fears followed the confidential agreement reached between the Nigerian government and the Abacha family in 2014, in which the Nigerian government agreed not to prosecute any member of the family in lieu of the returned loot.

The controversial agreement reportedly received the backing of Geneva’s public prosecutor, resulting in the withdrawal of all criminal charges against Mohammed, the eldest son of the late dictator, allegedly implicated in a case of laundering his father’s loot.

“There are fears in civil society, in both Switzerland and Nigeria, that this money could be embezzled once again,” Executive Director, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, David Ugolor, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Ugolor said the petition was sent to the Nigerian and Swiss governments, as well as the World Bank, to demand a guarantee that these funds would actually be used to finance projects that would improve the living conditions of the Nigerian people.

“It is imperative that they be allocated through a transparent process that involves both Swiss and Nigerian NGOs,” Mr. Ugolor said. “The transfers must also be performed in installments and upon the condition that the sums returned in previous installments were used as supposed,” he said.

Under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Mr. Ugolor said the $235million returned by the Liechtenstein government vanished without trace after government said the money was used to acquire arms to fight the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Other signatories to the petition included Olivier Longchamp, Berne Declaration (Switzerland); Martin Hilti, Finances and Tax programs coordinator, Transparency International (Switzerland); Adetokunbo Mumuni, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (Nigeria); Mark Herkenrath, Alliance Sud (Switzerland); Debo Adeniran, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) (Nigeria); Godwin Uyi Ojo, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (Nigeria), and Blair Glencorse, Accountability Lab (UK).


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  • Justicia2000

    Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
    must account for the Abacha loot he received and for all sundry
    recoveries of stolen funds, according to the latest court decision in Nigeria.
    The Abacha loot repatriated from Lichtenstein – now alleged missing under
    Goodluck Jonathan – must be fully accounted for. Otherwise, Mr. Jonathan
    should be arrested and arraigned in a court of law for conspiracy and stealing.
    Jonathan’s immunity expired on 29th May 2015. He must be brought to justice.

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Yet senile, illiterate certificate forger and perjurer MuhamMADu (alias Customs and Exercise, French Franc, Deutch Mark and President Michelle of Western Germany) Buhari swore that Abacha did not steal a Kobo! Show me your friend……

    • adelaw

      @disqus_adrUdD9Atb:disqus The Nigerian media is tentative. The staring fact is that Buhari’s anti-corruption
      war has no reasonable chance of success. It is not propelled by honesty of purpose. That’s why Buhari’s war is
      being hissed at nationally and overseas. It is not lauded as focused, objective or honest. It is so lopsided that
      it provokes laughter. Once you hold APC party membership card, all your loot become automatically lawful.
      That is not how to fight corruption. It is instead a roundabout way of promoting party-based corruption.

      credibility because none of the faces Buhari put forward as his anti-corruption
      warriors had such reputation in the public domain before the APC party was
      formed in 2013 or thereabouts. That’s where the rains started beating BUHARI
      because anti-corruption is not a sudden consciousness or a slogan, but a way of
      life which an individual has led all his life.

      By failing to look for well-known anti-corruption persons, Buhari fails. Nobody knows Yemi Oshinbajo
      as an anti-corruption man before the APC party invoked anti-corruption as a campaign slogan in 2013.
      Surely, selective justice is injustice. Corruption cannot be fought with morally wretched people like Bola Tinubu
      and Raji Fashola dressed up in borrowed robes as the new anti-corruption sheriffs in town. That’s insane!

      • Pastor J.J. Jones

        The love of money is the root of all evil; which, while some coveted after, they erred from faith

        and pierced themselves with sorrows. For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world

        and lose his own soul? The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of those

        that seek death. There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked. Anyone who guards himself

        prudently will stay far from them.

    • Julius

      ……And you will show us Dr Fortunato, the clueless Jonathan, Mr. Stealing is not corruption. Buhari was absolutely wrong in making that statement about Abacha. My understanding was that he made the statement on a condolence visit to the Abacha family after his death. However, there is no excuse for him saying that. Im sure he will say something different if you ask him now. Many of us called him out at the time.

  • BabaMessi J. Q.

    I sincerely hope the so called ‘petition’ by these faceless ‘Swiss & Nigerian NGOs’ will be torn torn shreds!
    What loot? Which imaginary loot?? The arrowhead of the anti kwarofshun war- Mai gaskiya- gave Abacha a CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH!
    ‘mai gaskiya’ means ‘truthful one’.


  • All talks between Swiss Govt and Nigeria must exclude direct Buhari involvement. Let his cabinet engage the Swiss in all talks. Buhari denied the existence of this loot.

  • omo

    This Abacha loot no dey finish. For God sake why did the man looted so much as if he will be alive forever? Other looters this is a lesson to learn if you so wish

  • Spoken word

    This Abacha loot no dey finish.

    • owhonda

      O boy I tire o. How much did this man loot? Every time Abacha loot.

      • band olu

        It’s been ”Abacha loot” bcos he was d only one that looted then…Very soon we will be hearing many different names of loots…

    • band olu

      It seems he stole a lot with his family only, no one else could steal during his regime….But we lost more under d last regime bcos they were all looting & they stole as much as they could….


    Very good work by the NGOs!

    This is a clear indictment on the Buhari government, that they are not trusted even after singing “corruption” for almost a year, it’s all talk.

    There’s nothing on the ground to show transparency, or even a clear agenda to take better care of the country.

    The funds should be returned in installments, after each budgeted installment is used for the purposes that the assembly assigned to it.

    This government must open up, disclose all amounts returned by various countries, and suspects since 1999 according to a Federal court order.

    Buhari is alleged to have said that Abacha did not loot any funds, imagine that!

    • owhonda

      Oh shut up. What a moriboubd comment

  • owhonda

    Nigeria where looted funds returned are in turn re-looted by those mandated to collect it on behalf of the country. What a country. This will be a test case of Buhari’s integrity. If that money disappears again, then we will begin to ask questions. Judis to the NGOs

  • AmenWolf

    The Swiss authorities should keep this funds for now because brainless Buhari that already declared that Abacha never stole would simply collect this money and hand it over to the Abacha family. We should not forget that Abacha was his boss and benefactor

    • alkali

      CENTRAL BANK audit result on Sanusi Lamido: THIS IS ALL WE KNOW

      • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spendings.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police
      guards in one year.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
      for charter service.
      • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
      • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦1.97billion was paid out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
      expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦20billion was paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons unknown.
      • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido as expense ostensibly to promote
      Central Bank image.

      • Macko2000

        “The point i want to make and that’s a question i now want everybody to ask themselves. How can
        you have a sitting Central Bank governor (Sanusi Lamido) who cannot count? Who starts by telling
        you $49billion is missing, and then reduces to $29b, then 10 billion dollars, then raises it to $20b –
        a Central Bank governor who cannot count like that is a disgrace to his country and a disgrace to
        the position he takes.”

        ……………..Odia Ofeimun

        (March 14th, 2015)

        • qpr2016

          @lorddaniels:disqus: I agree with you. Buhari is not the sort of person i can trust. I speak for myself based on his antecedents. Anyone that can say in public that General Sani Abacha did not steal anything is surely not a man of integrity in my own Advanced Learners dictionary. Honesty of thought at all times is what a man of integrity means. Muhamadu Buhari does not fit that dictionary meaning of the word, ‘integrity’.Muhamadu Buhari could disgrace himself by receiving the Abacha loot from the Swiss.

          • ehime222


            Why do you need a future test to know a present truth? Has President BUHARI given account

            of any recovered loot till date? Has he obeyed the order issued by the High Court that he must?

          • joe

            A conversation between monkeys and Baboons

          • ikenemefua A.


            You don’t have to be abusing. Truth of the matter is that Nigerians
            are angry at Muhamadu Buhari. He promised he can do CHANGE. But he can’t
            do anything. He’s spoiling things more and more. Nigeria was not as bad as this
            under GOODLUCK JONATHAN. Nobody in Lagos slept with electricity last night.
            Everywhere was just darkness. Is that CHANGE? People are getting really angry
            now. There is no water, no electricity, no safety, no stable value of money.

          • Julius

            lolz. Who is who ?

          • Julius

            Here we go again . What court order are you talking about. You must have missed the court ruling that said that the government/Buhari has not, did not disobey any court order. I know that doesnt do along with your false narratives. Nonsense !

        • qpr2016

          @lorddaniels:disqus: : I agree with you. Buhari is not the sort of person
          i can trust either. I speak for myself, based on his antecedents on the Abacha loot.
          Anyone that can say in public that General Sani Abacha did not steal anything is hardly
          a man of integrity in my own Advanced Learners dictionary because Honesty of thought
          at all times is what a man of integrity means. But Muhamadu Buhari does not quite fit that
          dictionary meaning of the word, ‘integrity’ in my own view. .Muhamadu Buhari could even
          disgrace himself by receiving the Abacha loot from the Swiss, to eat his own words.

          • Wikisqueal



          • O’Jose

            …My people……it’s not looking good yet O……Buhari is losing goodwill……
            ….more than he’s gaining it…..and now, after 9 months…..he has negatives ……
            numbering enough to write a book……….from his blunders overseas…..to
            this huge suspicion… that he’s just another Fulani Islamist hegemonist and
            northern tribalist……but, that’s a smelly body odor to carry around…….if…..
            …..it includes jumping the window of parliament to forge appropriation bills……..
            and winking at the genocide of Shiite Muslims… …..as well as the murders….
            ……..committed daily by the mad and maddening Fulani herdsmen……….

    • O.T


      I am surprised that it took Nigerians these 9 wasted months,
      so far, to realize and agree that BUHARI does not have the intellectual ability
      to resolve any policy problem; to talk more of actualize CHANGE. To be frank,
      General BUHARI is much closer to an illiterate than to a truly educated person.
      His morals are dubious for lies-telling. All his life, he’s been on the wrong end
      of history, not just for his mis-teaching Nigerian youths false certificate claims,
      but more grievously for standing on the side evil on national issues.

      For instance,
      at the 10th anniversary of SANI ABACHA’s death, held in Kano on June 8th 2008,
      Buhari said that ABACHA did not STEAL anything. “Buhari, in his own comments
      yesterday, described the allegations of looting against Abacha as “baseless”, because
      according to him, “ten years after Abacha, those allegations remain unproven
      because of lack of facts
      ,” THISDAY newspaper reported Buhari as saying..

      This is the same morally empty Muhamadu Buhari whom Wole Soyinka and the horde
      of supposedly educated Yoruba then voted into office for this infamy eight years later.
      But at the time General BUHARI desecrated Nigeria with his pro-corruption declaration,
      over a billion dollars of Abacha’s loot had already been seized and returned to Nigeria.

      • Alexis Orly

        @lorddaniels:disqus : I agree with you. Buhari is not the sort of person i can trust. I speak for myself based on his antecedents. Anyone that can say in public that General Sani Abacha did not steal anything is surely
        not a man of integrity in my own Advanced Learners dictionary. Honesty of thought at all times is what a
        man of integrity means. Muhamadu Buhari does not fit that dictionary meaning of the word, ‘integrity’.
        Muhamadu Buhari will now disgrace himself in public by receiving the Abacha loot from the Swiss.

        • i dey hear

          “The only way to stop us from stealing is to stone us. The Nigerian followers

          are as guilty as the Nigerian leaders. The Nigerian institutions are all compromised

          and there is no alternative to them as it is. Nigerians appear not to be against stealing

          and corruption but only against how long you stay stealing and being corrupt.

          Don’t ever expect those in public office to fight corruption on these facts.”

          ….…..Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers state)

          (Now Minister of Transport in Nigeria)
          (June 30th, 2014)

        • Concerned Citizen


      • Alexis Orly

        @lorddaniels:disqus : I agree with you. Buhari is not the sort of person i can trust. I speak for myself based on
        his antecedents. Anyone that can say in public that General Sani Abacha did not steal anything is surely
        not a man of integrity in my own Advanced Learners dictionary. Honesty of thought at all times is what a
        man of integrity means. Muhamadu Buhari does not fit that dictionary meaning of the word, ‘integrity’.
        Muhamadu Buhari must now disgrace himself in public by receiving the Abacha loot from the Swiss.

    • Derrick O. Harrison

      ……..shut up there!…..we have 2.2 trillion Naira deficit in our budget…..we need every dollar to avoid bankruptcy……
      …………….do you know Nigeria is not getting approval for the 3 billion dollars loan till now from the world bank?……..
      ….the world bank is saying we should go to IMF for current account deficit problems, not to the world bank……..
      …………………Angola had put in its own loan papers to world bank too….following the example set by Nigeria………
      ………..world bank saw Nigeria as breaking the rules setting up world bank only for long term development loans………

      • I go die O!

        Yepa, Sai Baba no know book O! He went to world bank for loan to solve budget deficit.

        I.M.F is what the Bretton Woods people set up to give loan for budget deficit, not THE I.M.F.

        Kai, which kind disgrace be this on Nigeria for God’s sake? IMF is not = to World Bank now!

        • I go die O!

          Yepa, Sai Baba no know book O! He went to world bank for loan to solve budget deficit.

          I.M.F is what the Bretton Woods people set up to give loan for budget deficit, not World Bank.

          Kai, which kind disgrace be this on Nigeria for God’s sake? IMF is not = to World Bank now!

        • Sidi Sani

          “We don’t dispute the fact that Jonathan should not have been made the president of
          Nigeria at the time he was brought in, but the point remains that Buhari must also prove
          that he himself is a saint he portrayed himself to be. But my fear is that there are so many
          corrupt persons around Buhari and in APC and PDP while he has deliberately decided to limit
          his probe of corrupt persons to only those who served under Jonathan. This is very sad,
          and a clear evidence of selective trial of opponents.”

          ………………BALARABE MUSA

          [August 21, 2015]

      • I go die O!

        Yepa, Sai Baba no know book O! He went to world bank for loan to solve budget deficit.

        I.M.F is what the Bretton Woods people set up to give loan for budget deficit, not World Bank.

        Kai, which kind disgrace be this on Nigeria for God’s sake? IMF is not = to World Bank now!

        • Wikisqueal



      • ??????????

        You mean that BUHARI told his Minister to apply to the WORLD BANK for budget deficit loan?

        Haha, but that is not the function of the World Bank? Is there no adult in the Buhari Cabinet?

        • ‘debby’


          I still think we should give Buhari up till December before we can
          conclude that he is incompetent. I was not paid by APC party for what I am
          saying, please! What i am saying is from my own mind. Buhari did not start
          well. He wasted five months to choose Ministers. That has affected everything.

          That is what affected this 2016 budget too.
          The Ministers resumed in October. It was too late for any good planning. But
          let’s see if Buhari can make amends between now and December.

          On this topic of Buhari
          going to World Bank instead of I.M.F he is the one to explain himself.
          I am ashamed that Buhari did such a thing. I thought he knew better. But since
          the error has been made. We should only pray that it is not too late again for
          Buhari to open fresh loan discussion with another overseas lender.

        • share Idea


      • Invitro


        The IMF is the institution set up for loans to patch up current account deficits, not the World Bank.
        President Buhari has made a big blunder here. Nigeria may now have to seek commercial loans.
        The World Bank will never violate its establishment Act for Nigeria’s sake – the word is, never!

        • akindee


    • D’analyst

      My people perish for lack of knowledge, this same Buhari prevented Abacha’s son from representing CPC in 2011 Kano Gubernatorial election and it was the reason Jonathan rushed negotiate with Abacha’s son for out of court settlement of his money laundry case with a grand plan to present him as PDP gubernatorial candidate in Kano State in 2015 all in a bid to use popularity of the Abachas to neutralise Buhari’s uncommon popularity in the Kano. The motivation behind this move was because the failure of Abacha son to secure ticket saw him move to another party to contest the election, diminishing Buhari bound votes further after Shekarau seizure of ANPP structure initially saw Buhari bound vote diminish in the build up to the 2011 elections, paving way for PDP’s Kwankwaso to emerge victorious in the gubernatorial election.

      • Olu from South Africa

        You get time o! You need not educating them. They have already perished with their clueless Jonathan. What we should thank God for is that Swiss didn’t repatriate the money to the moron Jonathan otherwise Dr Dumbo and the gang would have re-looted the loots.

        • Iniabasi Akpan

          They did… & it was relooted.
          …& Dumbo is walking free.
          Now who is d moron?

      • sab

        I do not want to join such debate. But if GEJ is still being accused of saying that stealing is not corruption, why wont Buhari be castigaed for saying Abacha did not steal? Why do you now begin to tag timeline on Buhari’s statement when you don’t on GEJ’s? How many issues that Buhari talked about in the past that still stand? We talk about budget, padding or not and you know Buhari’s position and Lai Mohammed. God save us in this country from ethnic, political and religious sentiments. This is the biggest challenge we have in this country than any other problem and the earlier it is tackled, the better for us as a nation.

        • Julius

          What would you think would have happened if this money had been released to Jonathan ?

          • David Adeniran

            He would have given it to Father Dasuki for further disebursement!

          • Julius

            Yes, with Dr NOI writing a useless ,meaningless MEMO to cover her ass !

        • D’analyst

          Thanks for your contribution. It’s right to castigate Buhari when he does wrong deliberately. But everyone has got the right to be wrong on the basis of limited knowledge. Buhari’s actions over recent years has clearly shown he no longer believes Abacha didn’t steal. He is now after Abacha’s loot with even more vigour than any previous president, so what are still castigating him for: is it for acknowledging truth when the facts were brought to the fore? In the case of GEJ, there is nothing in his actions that suggest he has accepted being wrong on certain callous statements and actions. He uses every second opportunity to reaffirm his earlier callous position. I can give you plethora of examples even known to you

      • David Adeniran

        My brother, let them continue in their propaganda. Those guys are certainly IRREDEEMABLE!

  • musa aliero

    I thought buhari said abacha is not a thief! What r we still seeing here?! Birds of the same feather flock together

    • 007


      Buhari can go to the rooftop anytime now to say Abacha was a thief,
      to get back this Abacha loot. In my view, there’s no way Nigeria under
      Buhari can secure the 2.2 trillion Naira loan it needs to fund this 2016
      budget. This is March! There’s no willing lender. Where’s the magic wand to
      spin a loan of 2.2 trillion Naira between now and June? I don’t see a chance.

  • Fairgame

    Switzerland should stop insulting Abacha. President Buhari said Abacha never stole was not corrupt was not a thief. So what kind of ninsense reporting is this? The people talking about Abacha loot all suffer from mental illness because how can someone write a petition on money that does not exist? Also the world bank that was involved in supervising utilization of an installment of Abacha loot under Obj second term were all mad because how can you supervise looted money that does not exist! Plus finally even the memo approved by ex president Jonathan to borrow part of the funds for purchase of weapons for fight against Boko Haram in the height of the Boko Haram menace is all evidence of dementia of that government because how can you borrow funds from returned loot that never even was looted? Abeg make we hear word jare. These people have no job to do writing nonsense petitions about money that does not even exist. Switzerland is only using Abacha’s name to donate money to Nigeria because Switzerland loves us. Shikena

  • favourtalk

    At least, the one recovered from the previous government was misused but thank God that pmb will make use of this one well

    • Iniabasi Akpan

      The same pmb that said sbacha did not steal?…no insults pls.just help me understand something.

      • Fairgame

        Buhari was Abacha chief thieving officer that is why he said Abacha never stole because Buhari would be indicting himself if he said otherwise. We will never be fooled by Buhari’s lies and propaganda.

    • Fairgame

      you are partnofbthe mentally ill people who insist Abacha looted money when Buhari ‘who does not lie’ said Abacha never stole, was not corrupt. So go to your doctor and get your pills.

      • Julius

        Your home boy Jonathan the clueless also said that stealing is not corruption. Right ?

  • Wise Head

    I thought St Buhari said Abacha was not corrupt, and he did not steal any kobo from Nigeria, so where is this loot coming from?

  • Rommel

    When are we going to start talking about the Jonathan loot? because if $3 billion was looted under Abacha,over $100 billion was stolen under Jonathan.

    • Fairgame

      Crazy head Rommel your lies and propaganda induced suffering is not strong enough so your suffering will continue until truth is forced out of your diseased mind and your hatred for Jonathan will be expunged from your heart. Buhari supervised over Abacha’s looting of the country and that is a proven fact. Deal with it.

  • George

    This is the same Abacha the Native Doctor Buhari once said he never stole a kobo waoooooooooo and I blame the Swiss who is giving the money back to this shameless Native Doctor Buhari because I knew with his chicken half brain he will surely mismanage the funds he never believes stealing from onset.

  • 9ja needs a new leader

    By Ibrahim Shuaibu

    June 9, 2008

    Kano — The late military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, did not loot the national treasury contrary to the general impression, two military former heads of state have said.

    Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between 1983 and 1985, and his successor, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, gave Abacha the clean bill in Kano yesterday after the rememberance prayers marking 10 years of the death of Abacha, who ruled between 1993 and 1998.