On February 3, the State Department hosted a ceremony for the signing of an agreement between the U.S. government, the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the return of more than $308 million to the Nigerian people. In the 1990s, the assets were stolen by former military dictator Sani Abacha, and stashed abroad. More than 20 years later, these assets are being returned to the Nigerian people.
The funds will be used by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria. To ensure that the funds are used responsibly and for the good of the nation, the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight, and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets. This return reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner. It is also consistent with the commitments both the United States and Nigeria made under the principles agreed to at the 2017 Global Forum on Asset Recovery co-hosted by the United States and the United Kingdom.
This agreement is a symbol of the weight that the United States government places on the fight against corruption. We welcome President Buhari’s personal commitment to that fight, and we will continue to support civil society and other Nigerian efforts to combat corruption at all levels. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.