by Cletus Ukpong,
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.