Tag Archives: abacha

My husband never stole – Maryam Abacha

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Former First Lady, Maryam Abacha, Sunday described as outright lies reports of the Federal Government discovering funds allegedly stolen by the late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

Abacha died on June 8, 1998.

The federal government had in March received $311million from the United States and the Island of Jersey as part of funds recovered from the family of the late dictator.

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In a chat with journalists in Kano, the ex-first lady said it was evil to speak ill of the dead.

She said: “How come this man was not a thief until he died? What is this amount of money after 22 years you say oh we have found this amount of money and we’re bringing it back?

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“It is a shame to tell lies about a dead man! It is a shame to tell lies on your leader. If he had done wrong, God knows. If other people are putting the wrong on him, it is a matter of time.

“They will kneel down like America is kneeling down now. Anybody that is evil will kneel down just like this coronavirus has come to shut this world.”

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Mrs. Abacha claimed that her late husband helped a lot of people who had stopped greeting her.

“He worked in Kano and he planted Kano people in several places. But there are people he helped a lot but they are not even greeting me now for no reason. They just hate us. But why? It is haram and Allah is watching us,” the ex-first lady added.


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] AGF flay those in support of $311M Abacha loot return.

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Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has flayed those who he claims wanted to frustrated the repatriation of $311million looted by late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

In a statement on Wednesday, Malami told such persons to “bury their heads in shame”.

The federal government on Monday, received the funds from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

The litigation process for the recovery of the loot, which is part of the $5billion allegedly stolen by Abacha, commenced in 2014.

Malami also fired at those who criticised his use of “Abacha assets” to describe the stolen funds.

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“It is palpable that news about successful return of the looted assets have brought nightmares to naysayers and pessimists who wanted to frustrate the repatriation process through a campaign of calumny.

“They resorted to rhetoric instead of burying their heads in shame,” part of the statement read.


#Newsworthy…

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Get ready to return Abacha’s $311M Loot if Misused – United States to Nigeria.

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The United States Government has told Nigeria to be ready to “replace” the $300m General Sani Abacha loot it returned to the country if the fund was misused.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the money must be used for the agreed public projects highlighted in the agreement signed with it before the fund was returned to Nigeria.

The United States and the British dependency of Jersey agreed with the Nigerian Government in February to return the $300m Abacha loot, according to Media.

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The U.S. Justice Department outlined the so-called “claw back” provision in a response to a query from a powerful American senator questioning the prudence of returning the cash.

“Should any of the parties — including the United States —conclude that any of the returned funds had been used for an ineligible expenditure, a “claw-back” provision would then obligate the FRN (Nigeria) to replace fully any such improperly diverted monies,” the letter said.

It did not specify how and to whom the money would be “replaced”.

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The provision is notable as Nigeria continues efforts to repatriate money allegedly stolen during Abacha’s brutal regime from 1993 until his death in 1998.

Transparency International estimates that he stole as much as $5bn of public funds during that time.


#Newsworthy ..

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[Nigeria] $311M Abacha Assets From Jersey, US

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The Nigerian government has received $311,797,866.11 recovered assets of General Sani Abacha repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

The Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, confirmed this on Monday in a statement by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations at his office, Dr Umar Gwandu.

According to Malami, the amount increased significantly from over $308 million mentioned in an earlier statement in February to over $311million as a result of the interest that accrued from February 3 to April 28, when the fund was transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He noted that the litigation process for the return of the assets titled ‘Abacha III’ commenced in 2014 while the diplomatic process that culminated in the signing of the Asset Return Agreement commenced in 2018.

The agreement was signed on February 3 by the governments of Nigeria, the United States, and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

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“This Agreement is based on international law and cooperation measures that sets out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition, and management of the assets,” he said.

More to follow…


#Newsworthy…

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No record of Abacha loot since 1999 – FG tells SERAP.


The Federal Government has told the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that it had “no record of the exact amount of public funds stolen by a former military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, and the spending of about $5 billion recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015.”

The government’s response followed the group’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abukabar Malami, SAN and his Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning counterpart, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.


It had sought “information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha and details of spending of about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.”

According to SERAP, only Malami had acknowledged receipt of the proposals in a correspondence dated February 26, 2020, but which it received March 9.


In the response, the minister had stated: “We have searched our records and the information on the exact amount of public funds stolen by Abacha and how recovered loot was spent from 1999 to 2015 is not held by the ministry.”

He added: “However, a total of $322 million was recovered from Switzerland in January 2018 and the funds were used for social investment projects. Also, $308 million was recovered from the Island of Jersey in collaboration with the United States of America. While awaiting the transfer of the money to Nigeria, it has been designated for the following projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Abuja-Kano Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.”


Unimpressed, the organisation’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “The failure to provide information on the exact amount stolen by Abacha and on spending of recovered loot for the period between 1999 and 2015 implicitly amounts to a refusal by the government. The government also failed to provide sufficient details on the spending and planned spending of the $630 million it said it recovered since 2018.”

In the statement dated March 15, 2020, SERAP said: “In the circumstances and given that Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has failed and/or refused to response to our FoI request, we are finalising the papers for legal actions under the FoI Act to compel the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to fully and effectively comply with our requests.”


Malami’s reply, referenced MJ/FOI/REQ/035/11/34, was signed on his behalf by the Principal Counsel in the ministry, Hamza Adeyinka Omolara.

The FoI inquiries had expressed “concerns that substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been diverted, re-stolen or mismanaged, and in any case remained unaccounted for.”

They were dated February 14, 2020 and requested that “the Federal Government should disclose details of projects executed with the Abacha loot and their locations, details of companies and contractors involved in the execution of any such projects, details of all the agreements on the loot, the roles played by the World Bank and other actors as well as the implementation status of all projects since 1999.”


#Newsworthy…

House of reps plot to divert $308m Abacha loot


The House of Representatives has set up an enquiry into allegations that the recently recovered $308 million Abacha loot which the Presidency said will be used to expedite work on three major infrastructures i.e. Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Expressway and the Second Niger bridge may be diverted into private accounts, using Julius Berger, as a conduit.

The House Committee on Works, it was learnt at the weekend, has resolved to summon the Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the management of Julius Berger Plc over the allegations.

Recall that the House of Representatives on Thursday last week, directed its Committee on Works, to set up an inquiry into allegations of contractual malfeasance to the tune of N206billion, involving the ongoing 2nd Niger Bridge project.

A motion of “National Importance”, sponsored by Rep. Ifeanyi Chudi Momah, representing Ihiala Federal Constituency of Anambra State, entitled: “House to Investigate Julius Berger FMWH, NSIA, others Over Contract Monopoly”, was adopted by the House.

The House in adopting the Motion alleged that phase 1 was awarded on Public-Private Partnership bases and 2(a) and 2(b) of the 2nd Niger Bridge, was to be awarded as traditional contracts at the rate of N118billion, the government allegedly breached the deal and awarded same to Julius Berger at the whopping cost of N206billion.

“Phase 2 of the job was to be awarded as Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis under PPP scheme, phase 2a and 2b were to be awarded as traditional contracts, the same job, has now been awarded to Julius Berger for N206Billion, as against the cost of N118Billion valued by BPP”.

The motion advised that “A Swiss challenge bid process, ought to be adopted to avoid a situation of potential conflict of interest”.

The House lamented that all projects handled by Julius Berger, under the SUKUK arrangement, were defective and proceeding at snail speed.

The Green Chamber alleged further that there was evidence of slow pace of work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano-Zaria-Kano Expressway and the 2nd Niger Bridge, leading to traffic and deaths.

“Julius Berger is involved in all these three critical projects and other major road projects under SUKUK. All these projects, are lagging behind schedule, which brings to fore, Julius Berger’s capacity to handle the projects, simultaneously”, the motion stated.

The House accused the government of flouting sections of the Public Procurement Act, and denying Nigerians, the required transparency, due process and judicious application of resources for the contract.

“The use of Direct Procurement (Section 42 of the Public Procurement Act), in awarding these projects, as against the Opening competitive Bidding (section 24 of the Public Procurement Act), have deprived Nigerians of transparency, due process and potential to save money”.

After a brief debate of the Motion, the House urged the Works Committee, to determine if the contractors had the capacity to deliver the contracts awarded as scheduled.

The Committee is to also “investigate the level of work done on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Abuja-Kano-Zaria-Kano Expressway and 2nd Niger Bridge, in order to determine if the amount disbursed so far, has a commensurate value with the job done till date”, and to “determine if there is a potential conflict of interest in awarding the contracts to a single contractor”, and to also “determine if the contract sums, have been inflated”.

The Committee, with Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, presiding, was given 4 weeks, to report its findings and recommendations, back to the House in 4 weeks”.

These projects were designed to be funded by Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), domiciled at Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, for effective funding.

As at December last year, 19,520,949,317.16 was released to Section 1 of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, N80,242,079,039.46 to the 2nd Niger Bridge, N50,856,044,301.27 to Abuja-Kano-Zaria-Kano Expressway, totalling N150,619,072,657.89.


#Newsworthy…

Falana: FG fails to account for $4bn Abacha loot


Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has accused the Nigerian Government of failing to account for the $4bn recovered from late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Falana also said that since 1999, the government had recovered about $4bn of public funds stolen by Abacha but that Nigerians were not aware of how the fund was expended by the government.


Falana, who spoke at the Anti-Corruption Situation Room conference organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda, which focused on reviewing efforts of state and non-state actors in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Falana said it was lack of accountability by the Nigerian Government that prompted the cautionary insult of a United States Department of State official, who mocked Nigerian leaders, asking them to ensure accountability in the disbursement of the latest over $308m warehoused in the Island of Jersey but recently released to Nigeria.


“About $4bn recovered Abacha loot is yet to be accounted for.

“One young state house official told Buhari government officials that the money must not be stolen.


“It is the most successful recovery of stolen public funds in the world. We have not been able to account for the money,” Falana said, lamenting that a former President said he recovered $2bn in eight years but when he was asked to account for the funds after a court order, he said the “judge was foolish”.

Falana said Nigerians had been battling public officials to make open the assets declared, noting that declaration was from the Latin word declare, which means to ‘declare open’.

He said the Code of Conduct Bureau should be told the secrets surrounding asset declaration in Nigeria is illegal.

An official of Transparency International, Mr Anwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the TI report is not about corruption by the Nigerian Government but rather focuses on perception and the corruption trends in the country.


#Newsworthy…

Abacha loot: US embassy threatens Nigeria


The United States of America has threatened to ensure that the over $308million looted and laundered abroad by former Head of State, late Gen Sani Abacha, is not re-stolen in Nigeria again.
The warning was a sequel to the February 4, 2020, repatriation pact the Federal Government signed with the US, and the government of Jersey to return the money. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which was also involved in the pact, said the US government warned against the money being re-looted.

The Anti- Graft Agency’s Secretary, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, said this in Lagos last Friday during an anti-corruption walk organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).


Olukoyede said: “Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be on the team that went to recover $308million for Nigeria. They are from Washington.

“You know what the Oyinbos told us when we wanted to sign the treaty? They had the audacity to look into our eyes and said: ‘If you people steal this money again, we will collect it back from you.’ “I stood up against them, I said: ‘We are not a corrupt nation. A few people might have stolen money, but Nigeria is not a corrupt nation. We have a lot of youths who are not corrupt. And you know it is not their fault, (they said that) because they have seen recovered loot being looted again.”


Public money looted by Abacha during his five years in power is estimated to be about $5 billion. The anti-corruption walk, Themed: “Nigerian Youth Walk against Corruption” held simultaneously across the country, the Lagos zone, walk across Lagos Island and Ikoyi, included EFCC staff, NYSC members and officials, among others.

Olukoyede urged the youths to shun corruption and be diligent in whatever they do. He said: We have arrested so many youths. If we keep putting youths in jail, what is going to be the future of Nigeria? “So, we want to encourage you; where ever you see corrupt practice, say no to it. Resist it. If anyone is trying to lure you to it, say no. You can win by integrity. Integrity pays.


“Very soon as Youth Corp members will start job-hunting. But where are the jobs? Why aren’t you getting the jobs? A few people have plundered the country’s resources. ‘But let me assure them that at the EFCC, we are not relenting. Let corruption fight back, we will stand against it. We will fight corruption. We will send them to jail. We are not going to give them any chance again in Nigeria.”

“I want to implore you, this is just the beginning. We will soon be calling and inviting you to join us for more battles against corruption. Nigerian youths don’t believe in those engaging in 419 (fraud). 419 does not pay. You’ve seen some of the ones we’ve arrested. For instance, Mompha. Would you be proud to be like him.”

“Anyone you see displaying wealth on social media is corrupt and a thief. One day, the arms of the law will catch up with them. It’s only a matter of time. So, don’t fashion your life after theirs. If you’re diligent in what you do, you will make it. The EFCC Chairman is diligent, look at where he is today. Diligence pays. Hard work pays, “He said. Olukoyede said “Do you know that some of the buildings built with taxpayers’ money, corrupt people are buying those buildings and privatising them? We will monitor them, profile them, we will find out where that money came from. If they cannot justifiably defend it, we will take it back from them.

“The assets we recovered from corrupt people are going to be justifiably used to develop our infrastructure, I can assure you of that. All the assets we are recovering, nobody is sitting on those assets. It is going back into the budget, into infrastructure. “Now we have a president who has the will to fight corruption. He is not a corrupt man, I can tell you that. So, if we can support what the EFCC is doing, what the NYSC is doing, then we can create a new future for Nigeria.


#Newsworthy…

Fraud refunds from Diezani, others to fund Lagos-ibadan expressway, and ..


The Nigerian Government says it will finance the construction of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge with the funds recovered from former military Head of State, Sani Abacha, James Ibori, Diezani Allison-Madueke, and Kola Aluko among others.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said this after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.


Malami said the government was ready to repatriate an additional $321m (N116.04bn) looted by the late former military Head of State.

He said the MoU expected to be signed next week would also cover assets or funds recovered from James Ibori, Diezani Allison-Madueke, and Kola Aluko among others.


He said, “It is in line with that spirit of aggressive recovery of looted assets that the office of attorney general has been pursuing the recovery of looted assets. We have overtime been discussing with other jurisdictions including the Island of Jersey and the United States among the purpose of the repatriation of looted assets connected to the Abacha family, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Kolawole Aluko among others.

“It is within this context that we have now come to terms with this jurisdiction – the Island of Jersey, United States of America and indeed Nigeria by way of negotiating for the repatriation of sizable assets. “As it is, we have concluded on the understanding that the sum of $321m will be repatriated in due course inclusive of James Ibori assets as well.


“So, we are hopeful that by next week, we will sign the agreement for the looted assets. The assets that are going to be repatriated are located and in the custody of the Island of Jersey. But the United States of America came on board because it has obtained an order for forfeiture against the assets, considering that the medium of exchange used in the looting the assets is the US dollar. Arising from that, the three jurisdictions will naturally be factored into the repatriation processes.

“So, the amount upon signing the MoU will be remitted from the Inland of Jersey within a number of days agreed upon. Within 28 days, the money will be repatriated from the Island of Jersey to the United States of America. And thereafter within 45 days, it is agreed by the parties that the United States of America will make the necessary arrangement for the eventual repatriation to the Nigerian state.


“This is where we are. The council has looked into the negotiated MoU that is expected to be signed that will now lay the foundation for the eventual repatriation of the money. The council has graciously approved the execution of the agreement. The council instructed the attorney general of the federation to be a signatory to that MoU in preparation of the repatriation of the funds.”

When asked about the figure of the amount to be repatriated attached to each individual mentioned, Malami said, “The immediate figure for repatriation as relates to the agreement expected to be signed next week is $321m. The $321m expected to be repatriated is attached to Abacha and is named Abacha loot.

“As it relates to James Ibori, the expected amount is €6,863,977.12. But the repatriation of the same is being negotiated and processed.”

On the sharing agreement, the minister said, “America and the Island of Jersey are simply entitled to administrative cost, associated with the management of funds. So, $10m was indeed what was earmarked to the two countries and the balance of $321m is coming to Nigeria.”


#Newsworthy…

Chief Kenny Martins – How Saudi Arabia Controls Nigeria.

Abacha, Abiola & IBB connection

Chief Kenny Martins in this interview with CHIDI OBINECHE reveals the undercurrents and untold role of the Saudi Arabia government, and other Nigerians in the June 12, 1993 presidential election saga, presumed to have been won by the late M.K.O Abiola, and the role of other prominent Nigerians to de- annul it and free Abiola from detention.

Nigeria has of recent been facing very difficult times. While the hardship in the land subsists, some men whose names rang bells in the hey days of military rule and pro- democracy struggles went the way of all mortals. I know you did relate with some of them. How do you feel over these sad incidents?

In the last few days, I have lost two great men. I met them as I embarked on my journey or quest to see how I can contribute to the betterment of this nation. In that journey, I met these two men who were also major actors. They were very positive major actors, and two of them made impact along the line. Those two men were Dr. Ore Falomo and Chief Alex Akinyele. I have known Chief Alex Akinyele since the 70s, and I knew him more closely in the 80s. I remember then he used to live in Ilasa. I don’t know whether most people know the story of his closeness with IBB, the former military president you know, he served in the government of IBB as minister of information. I don’t know what IBB will say because some of the nieces and nephews of Chief Akinyele were my friends then, and I practically passed his house every night. There were times that Mr. President then came to his house in the night under the cover of anonymity. He would sneak in without aides, security or convoy and drove himself, and I used to wonder. Mr. President will come all the way from Doddan Barracks to this man’s house in that part of the town. I didn’t have any closeness with IBB then. But I reasoned that no wonder this man always got to know what was happening in Nigeria ahead. He will come with minimum protocol and security officers. I am sure that if I see him (Babangida) , I will also commiserate with him and also ask him what he used to come and do at Akinyele’s house that time? So, while I am writing my memoirs, my book, about some of the things that happened in my life and some of the things that happened in this country, what I believe would have been done right and what should be done right to get the nation to achieve its destiny, I will also review some of these recollections. And I remember these two men. I feel sad over the loss of these men.

What particularly were their contributions to the June 12 debacle beyond Ore Falomo being Abiola’s personal physician and the closeness of Akinyele to IBB?

I would have wanted to meet them, refresh their memories and their contributions, which ultimately will substantially be part of the book we are putting together. When Chief Abiola was jailed, I remember reading an interview by Kola Abiola, Abiola’s son and the other by another key insider of the June 12 struggle and all of them alluded to the fact that it was an epoch in the life of this country. When MKO was in jail, you see, I have this gift of seeing things and hearing things as in the mold of a prophet. For almost one year, the family couldn’t see him. And one day, I will talk on the June 12 saga, how June 12 became a huge problem, how they arrested Abiola, and all the struggles throughout June 12, how he was jailed, Shonekan, Abdullasalm and all the efforts to get OBJ( Obasanjo) to get Abiola out of jail. OBJ himself was also all over the place seeking to find ways to lower the tension in the land. Things were not normal. Abacha was in power. Most of these issues were not necessary and completely avoidable, and they were raising the political temperature, both nationally and globally. There were a lot of things that were not done right. There were fireworks here and there and no one was sure of where the country was heading to without normalcy. It was under this situation that I went to meet Justice Mamman Nasir, Galadima of Malumfashi when that judgment came.

Which judgment are you referring to?

Have you forgotten about the judgment that stiffened the struggle? I went to meet him in his house at Katsina . He asked me to come in, and he said I hope no problems. I said no problem sir. It is just that I am close to Kola and the family, and I have been talking to them, and I know that they have not been able to see their father for over a year. The important thing was to do something about the Abiola issue urgently. “What can we do to get the man out of there? If we don’t do that, he will die and that will be of great consequence to the country. We need to find a way to break this deadlock that has seized the country by the throat”. He pondered and said, ‘but what do we do?’. I said I had to do something. I sold some ideas which I believed could be helpful, provided the government and the late Gen Abacha will also agree and follow that route, and I believe we can involve some of the leaders. You know how Ernest Shoneken came? We used him and others to work, so that all those who were in prison can come out. You remember how Shonekan came, and after a few days in power, we also used him to bring back all those who were in exile, asking him to make a pronouncement so that all the exiles will come back from exile. If these people could be released, we reasoned, the tension in the land will be lowered and the government can function better without the distractions of protests, defiance and cold war. We also prevailed on Obasanjo not to relent on the pressure he was mounting for the release of the prisoners of conscience, particularly Abiola.

But there is widespread information that Obasanjo worked against June 12?

Those stories are not correct. When my book is out, Nigerians will know about who did what or who did not. That is all I can say on that. Back to what I was saying, the pressure to release Abiola by Obasanjo and others gave a lot of international attention to Nigeria. Justice Nasir, asked, “What are you doing?” I said, myself, I have gotten this idea to the Saudi government about Abacha. I told him that I told the Saudi authorities that General Abacha was always complaining about them, that they were not giving him same treatment and accord that they gave General Babangida. When Babangida was in power, he was their blue- eyed prince. But since Abacha had been here as Nigeria’s military ruler, they would not deal with him and he is a Muslim too. He was wondering why they were behaving like that to him. There was this hostility by the Saudi authorities to Abacha’s government.

Apart from Abacha and Abiola being Muslims, what other undercurrents were responsible for the attitude of Saudi Arabia to Abacha, Abiola and June 12?

This dampness of relationship between the two governments was at the root of some of the troubles that we needed to remove in order to get Abiola out of detention and reclaim his mandate. I told him that was the reason and suggested that we optimize the approaching Hajj in that respect. As we were speaking, the Hajj was quite close. The Saudi government had already pronounced that because of isolated cases of meningitis in Nigeria, that Nigerians had been banned from coming to Mecca. And that had created serious problems for the government of Abacha. There must be a way to find a win- win situation between the two governments. The Saudi government said they didn’t have anything against the Abacha government, but he can’t be there holding this true Muslim(Abiola) like him in captivity and everybody was pleading and appealing to him, and he was not allowing the man to go. Why should he do that to a fellow Muslim? Then why do we pray and what is everybody doing to get justice and facilitate the release of the man from prison since he was innocent? They said that if that is what goes on in Nigeria, then, it is bad. So, I didn’t know how close Chief Abiola was to them, and so many efforts were just flying in the air. It became apparent that, this tango was why we were suffering. He would have agreed with them and explore the possibility to take Abiola into their country since they were the ones who supported him in his ITT business. It was their own majority in the business that gave him the position of Chairman, Africa/ Middle East, which helped him to become what he became. I remember Chief Akinloye told me the story of that business and how it boiled down to except Nigeria signed or President Shagari signed, they were not going to give it to Abiola. And they were not going to give it to Abiola because people were prevailing on Shagari not to do it. Akinloye was the chairman of the ruling party, NPN. That was when democracy was democracy, when democracy was a culture, when chairman of the party had regular weekly meetings, twice or so with the president. Actually, the president was subjected to the supremacy of the party, not now when governors and local government chairmen are the ones controlling the party. We have lost democratic culture in this country, and that is behind some of the problems we are having, and why the country is not developing. That’s by the way. So, Akinloye told me how he then prevailed on President Shagari to sign that paper, because except Nigeria endorsed that paper for Abiola, he won’t be awarded that contract. They must approve of you and recommend you if the job must be actualized. That was how it worked then, and it worked in Abiola’s favour despite the party primaries between Shagari and Abiola. Abiola contributed N1.2 billion preparing for the election under SDP where he emerged the party’s presidential candidate. It was about 60%, of the budget. Then, Yar Adua contributed 25%, and others contributed the rest. Some of us drew up the budget, the first budget in Nigeria, where you had everybody catered for- the security, the media and so on, so that there can be peace. And that was one of the reasons why we had the freest and fairest election. SDP, through Abiola facilitated and ensured that everybody was properly mobilized not only to win, but to protect the results. And that was why it still remains the freest and fairest election. So the idea was taken. And as for (National Democratic Coalition) NADECO, and those who were to give problems, you know they had a way of engaging them. Their visa was an issue. It was easy for them if the reasons were real and good to get them in. It was agreed based on the suggestions I made to Justice Nasir, that they could then sit down together and then create a platform so that Abiola and Abacha could discuss. And on top of that, if Abacha agreed, our pilgrims could go to Mecca within the few weeks left. I was optimistic about that and canvassed the possibility of still going to Mecca within the few weeks left. It was an open window to exploit, I reasoned. Justice Nasir said, is that true? I said yes sir. Well, he told me some personal constraints as to why he could not be able to get the president immediately. I was unrelenting. I said sir; this is what you can do. Forget about those who might be blocking you. I said the president will be willing to do business with you. The president will listen and reach you. Between man and God, within five minutes of our discussion, a call came from the villa; it was the Sultan of Sokoto, who I had just mentioned to Justice Nasir. He said “ ah Galadima, the president wants to see us next tomorrow, he will send a plane to pick us tomorrow and we have six leaders and six Emirs on our list. He turned to me and said, ah, you just said it and now I am being invited. I said to him, sir, when you get there, after the northern leaders meeting that they are calling you, call him aside and tell him what you have to tell him. I am sure that he will accede. Number one, the country is at a standstill, Abiola in jail, this one in jail, that one in jail, everybody in jail. He listened to me in rapt attention. The third day, he returned to Kaduna and called me. He said Kenny, where are you? I said I was in Lagos and he said come. I took the next flight to go to him. When I got there, he was in a meeting. He was chairing the meeting. He excused himself and came to me. He said, “come”. Your prayers are good. Abiola can go on bail. He said, it was a done deal but that the problem all along was Abiola’s lawyer, G.O.K Ajayi, who was making it complicated for Abiola to be released on bail for the reason I told you before. They were the ones opposed to the bail, telling Abiola not to accept it. I don’t want to go into details. I told you before, that I don’t want to say these things now. We agreed to change his lawyer, Abiola will get his visa, and he will be released. We will sit down, call a meeting, Nigerians will go on pilgrimage, and we will dot the I’s and cross the T’s. He, the president and I will monitor the changes. The Sultan, Justice Nasir will work to establish a platform that will broker peace. I will witness it. Let’s pronounce a transition and let’s go forward.

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