Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the Nigerian government must provide an account of the approximately $5 billion looted by late General Sanni Abacha, a former military Head of State. The judgment came in response to a Freedom of Information suit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). The order for accountability encompasses the tenures of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and Muhammadu Buhari.

Court’s Decision:
Justice Omotosho, in his judgment, directed the Ministry of Finance to disclose the full spending details of the Abacha loot within seven days. The government is also required to reveal information regarding projects executed with the looted funds, including project locations and the names of companies and contractors involved. Additionally, the court instructed the government to disclose the specific roles played by the World Bank and other partners in executing projects funded with the Abacha loot under the mentioned former presidents.

SERAP’s Plea to President Tinubu:
In a letter to President Bola Tinubu, dated July 8, 2023, SERAP urged him to uphold the rule of law and respect the court’s judgment. The organization called for immediate compliance by directing the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to compile and release the spending details of the recovered Abacha loot. SERAP emphasized that implementing the judgment would demonstrate a commitment to transparency, accountability, and the fight against grand corruption.

The court’s order demands transparency from the Nigerian government in accounting for the $5 billion looted by General Sanni Abacha. Compliance with the judgment would be a significant step toward upholding the rule of law and restoring trust in Nigeria’s judiciary. SERAP looks to President Tinubu to take decisive action and demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability in governance.

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