Don’t beg Switzerland, others for Nigeria’s stolen funds, sue them, Falana advises Buhari

Femi Falana
Photo credits: Newsbreakers
Femi Falana Photo credits: Newsbreakers

Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that it was time President Muhammadu Buhari took steps to recover Nigeria’s stolen funds stashed away in foreign banks, instead of continuing to appeal to the conscience of the leaders of the western countries.

Mr. Falana told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, that “the 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 nation’s looted wealth.”

He said western governments won’t readily support repatriation of stolen funds, since their economies were benefiting from such funds.

“In spite of several promises the British government did not return any fund under former Prime Minister David Cameron. In the same vein, the outgoing Barrack Obama administration (in the U.S) will not repatriate a dime to Nigeria.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest country, has been plundered for several decades by corrupt government officials who prefer hiding stolen funds – billions of dollars – in foreign banks.

President Buhari has made the repatriation of such funds a top priority of his administration.

Mr. Buhari, during 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) asked for the urgent release of Nigeria’s stolen funds hidden in the European nation.

The Swiss government had earlier set conditions to release the money which largely involved official assurance that the money would be judiciously utilised for public good.

The United States Secretary of States, John Kerry, in March, had pledged his country’s commitment to help Nigeria get back its funds hidden in the U.S. banks.

When the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on tape, in May, describing Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country, Mr. Buhari famously remarked that he would rather want a return of his country’s stolen assets, instead of an apology from Mr. Cameron.

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  • No Bull …..

    A wise man once told me ” Don’t tell a guy who owes you money 4k you” This is a little word of wisdom for Falana.

    • Rommel

      Good one!!!!! very good one

  • Realitytalk

    You want to sue them for how long will that take in court oga, pls the President is going in the right way

  • Freedom Bini

    Falana wants FG to rent him?

  • Right Minded

    This Falana of a man thinks he is wiser than most Nigerians. So he wants President Buhari to set up team of “local and foreign lawyers” so he can be called to the team just like he was among of the shameless SANs who defended Buhari’s certificate mess. This man is just too greedy and an opportunist in all form. He is eyeing Ekiti gov seat, so he needs money to finance such move. Anybody still seeing this man as an upright and no nonsense man should have his or her head examined. Falana has lost all integrity and good things associated with him, to me he is a NOBODY!

  • A Aminu

    The president is doing the right thing. Use diplomatic rather than legal avenues to recover the looted funds. It will take ages if legal angle is used. We have cases of Abacha loot still in courts in Europe and America unresolved. Some 18 years ago, when the money were stolen, and to take this issue to court as Femi Falana suggests, would mean waiting for another 20 years or more. The president knows what the government of Switzerland wants fron Nigeria, in diplomatic cycle, when discussing these favors from Nigeria, be it on behalf of a Swiss company, or Swiss government, then Nigerian government makes its counter demand. This is acceptable in diplomacy. Buhari should explore that angle rather than go to court. It is clear Falana stands to benefit, if the solicited legal angle is used.

  • Contact Point

    I disagree with my respected Femi Falana (SAN). Litigation of this nature normally take longer than tenure of the administration so suing them as you have suggested is not the right thing. The FG needs the money urgently so requesting their cooperation as done by PMB is the best way at this point.

    • thusspokez

      Litigation of this nature normally take longer than tenure of the administration

      On February 7, 2005 the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland authorised the repatriation by Switzerland to Nigeria of funds deposited by the crooked Abacha family in Switzerland. How many years ago was that?

  • vagabonds in power

    why is Buhari now begging Switzerland———-when he said Abacha did not steal a dime from Nigeria

  • thusspokez

    Don’t beg Switzerland, others for Nigeria’s stolen funds, sue them, Falana advises Buhari

    I totally agree with Falana on this matter. The banks broke their own local banking and money laundering laws in accepting laundered money.

    I find it rather insulting that a county like Switzerland would tell Nigeria how it should spend its own money. And it should infuriate every Nigeria that their government is willing to accepts these pre-conditions set by Switzerland.

    • vagabonds in power

      Another mumu—————–hail Hitler of Bingo Buhari————–(Muhammadu Buhari’s Declaration that Dictatorial Nigerian Military Head of State Sani Abacha Did Not Steal Public Funds

      One of the major points of criticism against Muhammadu Buhari, APC Presidential candidate for the 2015 Nigerian elections, is his declaration that late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha, in whose government Buhari had worked, did not loot public funds while in office.

      Sani Abacha became Nigeria’s head of state through a coup, ruling from 1993 to 1998.

      Yet huge amounts of Abacha’s loot were being recovered from different parts of the world, even as Buhari made that declaration which he has never revised.

      This development casts Buhari’s integrity in a very doubtful light, particularly in relation to his much touted anti-corruption credentials and claims of ethnic bigotry directed against him.) Yet Buhati yearns to have the money he said Abacha never stole back from Switzerland—-abi—-so that he can re-loot it again with his Halliburton wife Aisha Bingo Buhari –abi?

    • share Idea

      My gee, the blame is on both sides – FG and Western nations.

      For you to prove any case in court, you must present solid evidence to backup your claim. For the case of Abacha and others, does Nigeria have what it takes to account for Abacha’s loots stashed in those countries (I mean presenting evidence of withdrawals from FG coffers. in addition, to conviction secured in Nigeria against Abacha).

      It will just take smart dubious person in that country to keep placing one obstacle to the other in their respective country jurisdiction. Thus, delaying the case. Considering that Nigeria is not a nation founded on strong institution, government in power chooses which case to pursue and which one to overlook.

      For you to deal with these advanced nations, you need to reason like them. That is why some of us are bitterly disappointed when Buhari kept cast aspersions on all Nigerians whenever he travelled out. He thought that those Western people love Nigeria more than we Nigerians do.

      • Otile

        It is inconceivable that Buhari did not know that Abacha was stealing oil money while Buhari himself was the oil minister. This puts Buhari’s honest in doubt forever.

      • thusspokez

        For the case of Abacha and others, does Nigeria have what it takes to account for Abacha’s loots stashed in those countries (I mean presenting evidence of withdrawals from FG coffers. in addition, to conviction secured in Nigeria against Abacha)

        Are you aware that in 2005 the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland authorised the repatriation by Switzerland to Nigeria of funds deposited by the crooked Abacha family in Switzerland?

        The Swiss banks are not denying that they have Abacha’s loot, the issue here is the Swiss government delay tactics and the Nigerian government nonchalant attitude.

        • abodes_124

          The Swiss are not satisfied that this government will properly account for and use this money appropriately. They may all observe diplomatic niceties and praise GMB for his ‘anticorruption fight’ but their agents and missions report what goes on in Nigeria and behind closed doors they all believe that this country is too fantastically corrupt to be trusted with the recovered stolen money. They felt comfortable enough to return some under Jonathan but will continue to drag their feet while this government is in power. Yes, go sue them and give Falana the brief and his professional fees but you will not get anini that way.

    • abodes_124

      YOU THE THIEVING COUNTRY ARE FEELING INSULTED BY THE PERSON TRYING TO RETURN THE MONEY THEY HAVE REVOVERED FOR YOU ? THAT IS RICH.

  • thusspokez

    “In spite of several promises the British government did not return any fund under former Prime Minister David Cameron. In the same vein, the outgoing Barrack Obama administration (in the U.S) will not repatriate a dime to Nigeria.”

    I feel sad for the unsophisticated Buhari and the people around him. The Nigerian government, since the military destroyed the once first-class civil service have consistently looked inept and out of its depth on the world stage.

    Buhari needs to understand that the financial sector is very powerful in these western countries and the people who run the sector are often schoolmates and close friends of the people in the governments. The estate agents and lawyers who help Nigerian embezzlers to buy properties in exclusive parts of these countries are close friends of these western politicians. And when these western politicians leave office, they go and work in the financial sector or set up consultancy or charities often with the help of these friends as clients.

    Buhari is simply not clever enough to understand the business and social networking, not to mention the very sophisticated level of cronyism and corruption in the west that he is facing.

  • vagabonds in power

    Muhammadu Buhari’s Declaration that Dictatorial Nigerian Military Head of State Sani Abacha Did Not Steal Public Funds

    One of the major points of criticism against Muhammadu Buhari, APC Presidential candidate for the 2015 Nigerian elections, is his declaration that late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha, in whose government Buhari had worked, did not loot public funds while in office.

    Sani Abacha became Nigeria’s head of state through a coup, ruling from 1993 to 1998.

    Yet huge amounts of Abacha’s loot were being recovered from different parts of the world, even as Buhari made that declaration which he has never revised.

    This development casts Buhari’s integrity in a very doubtful light, particularly in relation to his much touted anti-corruption credentials and claims of ethnic bigotry directed against him.) Yet Buhari yearns to have the money he said Abacha never stole from the SS– back from Switzerland—-abi–? So that he can re-loot it again with his Halliburton baby pancake wife Aisha Bingo Buhari –abi? animals

    • Rommel

      Why can’t you appeal to your kinsmen to return the money they looted and stashed in Dubai and Swiss,are they dafts?

  • tsunami1earthquake

    Falana is forgetting one thing. He has forgotten that suing such a country would amount to wild goose chase because at the end of the day, millions of dollars would be spent on legal fees and the determination of such cases, which might take years, might end up not being in Nigeria’s favour.

    A damage has been done by both the Nigerian looters and the countries whose banks had become safe havens for stolen monies. What is important for Nigeria to do now is to cut its losses tag along with these countries that have revealed their custody of monies belonging to Nigeria, and recover whatever these countries have declared to be in their custody.

  • Cincinnatus

    Baba is right. Your cap in hand gesture suggests weakness. They will drag you around for as long as possible to make the most of your money while your people starve. Grace and diplomacy has it’s use but not in this case. They know we need our money urgently. They know the money was stolen. They received stolen goods willingly and are hiding it from those they acknowledge is the true owner. They are aiding corruption. Don’t be weak in front of these guys. Their suit and tie is a lie, they are brutal and savage. They’ll break you if they can.

  • Otile

    How come Buhari never utters the two words “Abacha loots”? What is he still covering up?

  • Buhari wouldn’t even be man enough to acknowledge Abacha loot and apologize to Nigerians for his ignorance. It takes a real man to own up.

  • papazak

    If I were a foreign country, why should I return the funds and to whom? ordinary Nigerians may not know exactly who stashed what and how much, but the foreign governments do, they see the same thieves running the affairs of Nigeria, these are the same people asking for return of looted money, if in deed that money was returned these same people will once again steal and stash the same money.

  • paul irumundomon

    The man who said Abacha did not steal, from one side of his mouth, you expect him to go western court to say he stole, from the other side of his mouth, these courts are not Nigeria courts. They are aware that a case like this, can be entatained, in these countries, there is a caviar, a lot of them have money stole and is in these very countries, you will be surprised how much money buhari had in England, the school fees he was paying, how were money transferred. We have to first look for Nigerians, who are pure and inocent, that breed, has to come through test tube babies, with no relatiomship, to any Nigerian. That one na e dem dey call, play the reggae then follow it up with the blues. Oga lawyer, with your experience and age, you know better, that mango can never produce guava.

  • marc umeh

    While we are at it ( recovering stolen fund) , Nigeria should set aside a national day of mourning .
    Nowhere has a people done so much to destroy their own country.

  • Domingos

    Buhari is too timid to sue. He is not smart enough to think along that line. This is simple fact. When David said All Nigerians and All their leaders are fantastically corrupt, a smart, sharp and rational individual ought to have responded in a measured tone. But Buhari didn’t. Instead he accepted the Cameron’s assertion hook line and sinker. Now, there isn’t anything wrong in accepting that some Nigerians (Just like some Britons) are corrupt, but to accept that ALL Nigerians are corrupt is simply mumudity at its peak. Pure mumudity. Willful mumudity!……………By agreeing that ALL Nigerians are corrupt, it meant that the hardworking and honest Nigerians were grossly discounted and this betrayal from someone claiming to be a leader would have been treasonable in some advanced societies. But in Nigeria it has become fashionable for Buhari to criticize Nigerians on foreign soil and demand from them morals that he has brazenly refused to abide by through his conduct – E.g., full disclosure of details of Assets declared.

    It is not only Switzerland. United States, UK, Liechtenstein, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia etc etc etc all need to be sued so they can return without delay the monies of the Niger Delta Republic which the Northern Presidents have stolen and stashed away since 1983, including Obasanjo and Jonathan’s govt. Anyone found guilty should face firing squad or be fed to hungry Dogs. But toi focus on President Jonathan’s regime, and then bypass Yaradua, Obasanjo and Abdulsalami and then focus on Abacha because he is dead, will amount to criminality on the part of Buhari and this must be resisted by all means.

  • Okey Okoye

    If all avenues to reach an agreement with those nations fails, my advice sue or take them to world court. This is our captial flight or stolen money from the peoples of Nigeria.It is these types of nations encourages corruptions to the corrupt elected officials in Nigeria.

  • un spkn

    firstly, u cant just go around suing countries in the international space. You need allies not enemies at any cost. Having said that, people are not really freindly towards western countries right now so they will be on Buhari’s side. E.g Russia, China, Japan, etc. However, they are not really bothered with our despise of western countries but rather what they have to gain from aligning with Nigeria. Before you sue, you need strategic nations on your side.