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Stolen Nigeria Government Funds Still In Swiss Banks

Nigeria say it is ready to make another attempt to get back billions of dollars stashed in Swiss banks by the late military dictator General Sani Abacha. President Umaru Yar'Adua says the country has received over $290 million out of an estimated $ two billion stolen by General Abacha. The Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, Andreas Baum, says his government is ready to cooperate with Nigeria. Switzerland had disagreed with Nigeria over how it spent the first batch of recovered funds.

Sina Loremika is the southwest coordinator of the group Zero Corruption Coalition. He says Nigerians are worried any fresh recovered funds will not be put to good use by Nigerian authorities.

"We've been asking our friends and associates in government to tell us what they have done with the Abacha loot. Interestingly, no one has pin-pointed anything. The closest we got was that it was used for the energy project, but unfortunately all our homes and offices are always in darkness 24 hours a day." He says it remains a mystery why President Yar'Adua is making another plea to the Swiss authorities.

"Actually, we are shocked and surprised and it appears as if we have been shortchanged and some of us thought that if the worse comes to the worst, development will be at the pace that President Obasanjo left the nation, but unfortunately, it appears that we are moving steps behind where Gen. Obasanjo left us."

Loremikan says the insistence by Swiss authorities that Nigeria account for how the first batch of the recovered funds was spent should be commended. "The issue is beyond that, globally the government and the people have committed themselves to transparency and accountability. An average Nigerian has a right to ask the British Prime Minister what he is doing with tax payers money; an average Japanese has a right to ask what the government is doing with the tax payers money."