Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has said that he returned about N287billion stolen by former dictator, Sani Abacha before he left office in May, 2007.
Obasanjo served two terms of eight years as Nigeria’s president and left office in 2007 to the now late former president Umaru Yar’Adua.
The N287bn figure was appeared at using an average exchange rate of N125.88 to a dollar in 2007 and an average exchange rate of N247.99 to a pound in the same year.
The ex-president said the assets were paid into the treasury through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The disclosure was contained in the Vol. II of Obasanjo’s autobiography ‘My Watch’.
Former president wrote: ”In total, by the time I left government in May 2007, over $2bn and £100m had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and well over N10bn in cash and properties locally. All were paid to the public treasury through the Central Bank.
”Enrico (Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer) told me by the time I left government that if he continued to get support for his work, there was still about $1bn he believed he could still recover from the Abacha family and cronies.
Obasanjo said that there was a time he received a report that £3m cash was taken from an agent of the late military dictator by customs officials at an airport in UK and that the British authorities asked the Nigerian administration to prove possession of the money.
Meanwhile, he said the British authorities denied to release the money to Nigeria despite showing details that it was taken from the CBN.
“I went to London to have a meeting on another important issue with (former British Prime Minister) Tony Blair and I took the opportunity to raise the issue of the £3m, using the Yoruba anecdote of the thief who stole palm oil from the ceiling cupboard by getting somebody to help him so as not to spill the red palm oil on himself or the floor. The man who assisted became an accomplice. Tony got the message and the £3m was released to Nigeria the following day,” Obasanjo noted.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an ex-minister of finance in the Obasanjo government, said last year through her special adviser that contrary to reports that the sum of $2bn was recovered from the Abacha’s loot, only $500m was recovered under her as Obasanjo’s finance minister.