Not less than 14 Nigerian civil society groups have called on the attention of the president-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, to discard negotiations between the outgoing government and the Abacha family to secretly spare them over billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria.
The groups, went further to asked the UK, U.S. and Swiss governments, along with the World Bank and the international communities to holt negotiations with the Nigerian government on the repatriation of all recovered funds, until all issues surrounding agreement were resolved.
Coordinator of the Nigeria Network on Stolen Assets (NNSA), David Ugolor, also asked for an independent committee comprising the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Extractive industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), and civil society groups to investigate and reconcile all the issues surrounding the recovered and repatriated Abacha loot.
The deal was exposed by Premium Times, who had on Friday exposed the secret dealing between the two parties. The terms of the agreement grants members of the Abacha family a pardon to shield them from criminal prosecution either in Nigeria or abroad, in exchange for a sizeable portion of the loot to be repatriated by the Swiss government.
However, the groups has described the deal as “unacceptable, misleading and generally inimical irregularities” in breach of globally accepted standards and templates in the fight against corruption as contained in Article 5 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
They therefore called on the incoming administration to reject the agreement in its entirely, as avoidance to do so would further promote more corruption and endanger Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and create room for impunity to thrive.
The coalition consists of Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP); Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice (ANEEJ); Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative; Say No Campaign Nigeria; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).
Other members of the group focusing on corruption, transparency and accountability, procurement, human rights, youth and women issues include Spaces for Change, Nigeria; Publish What You Pay Nigeria Campaign; Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC); Development Alliance for Niger Delta (DAND); West Africa Civil Society forum (WASF); Zero- Corruption Coalition (ZCC) and Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL).