The Nigerian presidency has denied media reports that the Muhammadu Buhari administration plans to pay Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, the sum of $100 million out of the $308million ‘Abacha loot’ to be repatriated to Nigeria by the United States government.
The reports, started by an America-based medium, had said that the $100m was in fulfilment of a deal reached between the past administration of Olusegun Obasanjo and Bagudu, a confidante of late Sani Abacha, former Nigerian military leader who stashed away millions of dollars of public funds in foreign accounts abroad.
Intent on clearing the air on the matter, a presidency source clarified on Saturday that while it is true the Obasanjo government reached such a deal with Bagudu, the Buhari administration is not about to honour the agreement because it is a subject of litigation and the deal is not recognised by the United States government.
The source who preferred not to be named, stressed that the $308 million when returned to the Federal Government, would be deployed for infrastructure works on the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Abuja-Kano expressway.
It also revealed that another $60 million the Federal Government hopes to recover as part of more Abacha loot, is pending because the late General’s family has taken the matter before a court.
According to the source, “the (Buhari) administration is currently talking to the the US government on the return of three pots or tranches of Abacha loot. First is the $308 million which has already been agreed to.
“Yes, there is a $100 million yet to be resolved which the Obasanjo administration ceded to Senator Abubakar Bagudu, an agreement that is being litigated because the US government itself does not recognize that Obasanjo-Bagudu settlement.
“Then there is a third tranche of $60 which is also a subject of private litigation by the Abacha family.
“Claims that the Buhari administration is planning to pay $100m to Bagudu from the $308m on the home stretch are absolutely untrue.
“That money, being paid to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is going into the funding of ongoing work on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano expressway.”