From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Government said it will use the $321 million stolen funds recovered from Switzerland on social protection programmes.
Senior Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reform and Open Government Partnership (OGP), Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who disclosed this in an interview with Daily Sun in Abuja, called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media to monitor the use of the funds when returned to the country.
The money is said to be part of the over US$2.2 billion allegedly stolen by the late former head of state, Sani Abacha, when he presided over the nation between 1993 and 1998.
It was originally deposited in Luxembourg, but was confiscated by a Swiss court in late 2014 and in March last year the two states signed an agreement on its repatriation.
The Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had revealed that negotiation with Switzerland on the return of the money had been concluded.
Speaking with Daily Sun after an interactive session with Open Government Partnership Nigeria and Civil Society Organisations, Ibekaku-Nwagwu expressed the need for said CSO and the media to hold government accountable.
“It is important that CSOs and the media should be able to have the capacity to continue to hold government accountable on all fronts.
“OGP encourages government to implement transparency measures as well as citizens participation in governance. The whole idea is that citizens should looked into every budget to understand what government is doing and to be part of governance.
“And so what President Buhari did in May 2016, was to sign into Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGPI) and by so doing committing Nigeria to the principles of transparency, accountability and citizenship participation.
“And when he signed into it, Nigeria committed to physical transparency framework and anti-corruption, access to information and citizen engagement.
“Within these five or six thematic areas, we have open budgeting framework, open contracting framework and we agreed on transparency in the extracting sector, transparency in revenue as well as improving the ease of doing business,” she stated.