Buhari begs World Bank to assist repatriate Abacha loot, others

By The Citizen

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday appealed the World Bank to do all within its powers to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at a meeting he had with the bank's visiting Managing Director, Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Shehu quoted the President as saying that the repatriation of the additional $320m  in Switzerland, which has been identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, would help to ease the current economic hardship facing the country.

Buhari assured Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.

The President said, 'We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds.

'We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us.

'$320m is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted.

One of the conditions given by the Swiss authorities for the repatriation of the funds is that it should be expended on the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by  the monitoring of the World Bank.

Buhari also assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration would honour all agreements with the bank that will help to stimulate Nigeria's economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country.

He said Nigeria would welcome more international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Indrawati told Buhari that the World Bank was ready to use its knowledge, expertise and resources to help Nigeria achieve faster growth and development.

'We will strongly support you to create jobs and ensure prosperity in Nigeria,' the World Bank Managing Director assured the President.

She also expressed the World Bank's full support for the war against corruption being waged by the Buhari administration.