France intends to return $150 million Abacha looting

France announced that $150 million of the wealth seized by General Sani Abacha would be returned to Nigeria.

Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until 1998, before his untimely passing.

Loot stowed overseas persisted in coming to light two decades after his rule, despite the Nigerian government having already retrieved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ms. Catherine Colonna, the visiting French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, stated at a press conference on Friday that she had apprised President Bola Tinubu of the intended repatriation of the confiscated funds.

She further disclosed that the pilfered funds would be reimbursed to the nation in the form of a grant and that discussions with the Nigerian government regarding the fund’s potential investments would commence shortly.

She further stated, “I also apprised President Tinubu that France, by the US Administration and in response to the request put forth by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice, will restitute to Nigeria the frozen assets that General Sani Abacha and his family pilfered from the Nigerian people in 2021.” Commencing dialogues with the Nigerian government will be undertaken to determine the most advantageous way to allocate these 150 million US dollars—by the government’s priorities—to development initiatives that benefit the populace.

She stated that French investments exceed €10 billion.

As per her assertion, over a hundred French companies have commenced operations in the area. Their investments in Nigeria’s economy extend beyond the mere sale of French products; they currently support the construction of 10,000 employment, factories, farms, and vocational training centers. Our objective for the upcoming years is to augment not only these investments in Nigeria but also the level of investment made by Nigerian enterprises in France.

Furthermore, Nigeria receives direct financial support from the French Development Agency (Agence Francaise de développement, AFD), which is a subsidiary of the French government.

“Since 2010, we have accumulated nearly three billion euros in financial resources to aid in Nigeria’s emergence.” AFD is implementing initiatives in 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states. In addition to supporting water supply, urban transportation, infrastructure, rural roads, and marketplaces, we also finance a significant number of local start-up incubators and small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, we are increasing our investments in vocational education for young people.

“Our foremost objective for the upcoming years is to provide continued assistance to Nigeria’s cultural and creative sectors.” They are already globally recognized and have enormous development potential. We assist entrepreneurs and creators in the animation, video game, music, fashion, and design industries in penetrating global markets.

"With the Minister of Finance present this morning, I endorsed an investment agreement worth one hundred million euros for the l-Dice program, which enables AFD to assist Nigerian entrepreneurs operating in the digital and creative sectors. In addition to offering financial expertise, we also provide visibility in France and throughout our exceptional cultural network in Nigeria, which includes ten Alliances Francaises and the French Institute in Abuja.