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Sani Abacha as a National Embarrassment

It is now beyond dispute: Sani Abacha was a thief. He was so mindless he never thought of the future. For him, governance was about stealing. He had little interest in the local currency the naira. He preferred them in hard currencies. Only dollars and pounds were acceptable. Do we also talk about the fact that he wanted nothing to do with local banks? His very few trusted allies ferried these cash for him to far off locations wherein his primitive mentality, he had imagined they would be untouchable. Well, now he would be turning in his grave, convinced that indeed, nothing can be hidden forever.

While the truth of Abacha’s thievery has been exposed, a few matters have remained unresolved.

  1. When will Abacha be officially recognised as the grand thief of the federal republic of Nigeria? He is believed to have stolen more than 5 billion dollars from the national treasury. Do you know what this sum can do for Nigeria? Think about the number of schools, hospitals, kilometres of quality roads and units of mass housing this sum could have built across the country.
  2. Why are there still monuments named after this great thief? A 16, 000 capacity stadium in Kano, a major road in Port Harcourt and Abuja and other places. Question: What moral lesson are we trying to convey by naming important public structures after a man whose most remarkable legacy is stealing?
  3. When shall we beam the searchlight on Abacha’s possible accomplices? Abacha never stole alone. Someone was helping him facilitate the movement of those funds. It is unlikely they did it for free or without extracting their own portion of the largesse. We know one of the men who helped the grandmaster of looting is now a governor in one of the northern states. What about the others? When will the security agents start doing the needful?
  4. How much more did Abacha really steal? From Switzerland to America, so much funds have been traced to the former dictator. But could there be more? Could there be some funds stashed away somewhere within the African continent? Did he give any of his friends some funds to stash away for him? There is little evidence to suggest that we have seen or heard the last of the Abacha loot.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect ROOT TV's editorial stance.


Okafor Chiedozie
Okafor Chiedozie is an economist, political writer and amateur Igbo historian. He pursues these and other interests out of Abuja.