Britain agrees to return Nigeria's stolen wealth
The United Kingdom on Tuesday assured that 40 jurisdictions, including British territories, were fully committed to sharing information that would facilitate the return of all the funds stolen from Nigeria and kept in their lands.
A Member of Parliament and Minister of State for Immigration of the United Kingdom, Mr. Robert Goodwill, gave this assurance in Abuja during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Nigeria and the UK on the modalities for the return of stolen assets.
Goodwill, who led a delegation of the UK government officials to the event which took place at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said the government of his country was keen to return all Nigeria's stolen funds 'as soon as the necessary legal processes allow.'
The amount of Nigeria's stolen fund stashed in the UK was not mentioned and questions were not allowed; but Goodwill said steps were being taken by the UK government to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally acquired assets.
He said the signing of the MoU was a follow-up to the commitment given by the UK government at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May to work closely with Nigeria and other international partners towards improving the process for the return of looted assets.
Goodwill said, 'Let me be clear, my government is fully committed to the return of all funds looted from the Nigerian State and we are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal processes allow.
'As outlined at the summit, we will be taking steps to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally acquired assets.'
He said the newly signed MoU 'provides the mechanism by which monies can be returned;' adding that it would send signal that the UK is no longer a safe haven for stolen funds.
In his address shortly before the signing of the MoU, Malami promised that the assets, when returned to Nigeria, would be judiciously used for the good of the people and reform of the judicial sector.