US queries Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials over Bagudu’s $100m

President Muhammadu Buhari, with Governors Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State in Abuja

The U.S.has opposed plans by the Buhari government to hand about $100 million the American authorities said was stolen by former dictator Sani Abacha to Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state.

According to Bloomberg, the disagreement may hamper future cooperation between the two nations to recover state money moved offshore by Abacha, who Transparency International estimates may have looted as much as $5 billion during his 1993-98 rule.

A commitment by Nigeria to transfer the funds to Bagudu appears to undermine Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to quell rampant graft in Nigeria.

The U.S. Department of Justice accused Bagudu of being involved in corruption with Abacha.

The DoJ also contends that the Nigerian government is hindering U.S. efforts to recover allegedly laundered money it said it has traced to Bagudu.

Buhari’s administration in response said a 17-year-old agreement between Bagudu and the Obasanjo administration entitles Bagudu to the funds and prevents Nigeria from assisting the U.S., according to recent filings from the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington.

“This case illustrates how complex and contentious repatriating stolen assets to Nigeria can be,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House and former Nigeria expert for U.S. intelligence agencies. “Instead of welcoming U.S. efforts, Nigeria’s lawyers appear to be supporting the interests of one of the country’s most powerful families.”

Neither Bagudu nor a spokesman for Attorney General Abubakar Malami responded to requests for comment. A spokesman for Buhari said the settlement and the litigation were matters for Malami. A spokesman for the DoJ declined to comment.

Successive Nigerian governments have sought to recoup the money looted by Abacha, who died in office, and have so far repatriated more than $2 billion with the cooperation of other countries, according to U.S. court filings.

In the case involving Bagudu, the U.S. in 2013 initiated a forfeiture action against a host of assets, including four investment portfolios held in London in trust for him and his family, according to the district court filings.

The DoJ said in a Feb. 3 statement that Bagudu, 58, was part of a network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.” Bagudu is the chairman of an influential body of governors representing the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Despite the forfeiture action being initiated following a Nigerian state request in 2012, Buhari’s government now says it can’t assist the U.S. because it’s bound by a settlement Bagudu reached with the administration of then-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, according to the court filings.

Under the terms of that accord, which was approved by a U.K. court, Bagudu returned $163 million of allegedly laundered money to the Nigerian authorities, which in exchange dropped all outstanding civil and criminal claims against him “stemming from his involvement in government corruption,” according to a Dec. 23 memorandum opinion by District Judge John D. Bates in Washington D.C.

That meant “Nigeria renounced any interest whatsoever” in Bagudu’s trust assets, including those the U.S. is attempting to recover for the West African nation, the opinion stated.

Bagudu was able to return to Nigeria after concluding the settlement and was elected as a senator in 2009. Six years later, he was voted in as Kebbi’s governor in elections that brought Buhari and his party to power.

Investment Portfolios

After Bagudu successfully sued Nigeria for violating the 2003 settlement, Buhari’s administration reached a new agreement with him in October 2018, according to the court filings. That would result in the transfer of ownership of the investment portfolios, worth 141 million euros ($155 million) to the Nigerian state, which would then pay 98.5 million euros to Bagudu and his affiliates, according to Bates’ Dec. 23 opinion. The funds are currently restrained by the U.K. at the request of the U.S.

Nigeria’s government claims the updated 2018 agreement with the Kebbi governor, which requires court approval in the U.K., will “curtail and mitigate its looming exposure” from the judgment in Bagudu’s favour.

Buhari’s administration submitted the 2018 deal to the U.K. court in September to support its application to unfreeze the assets so they can be sent to Nigeria, according to the opinion. The court has yet to make a decision.



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  • Only in Nigeria, the Republic of Chaos.

    By unGADI,
    OmoGadi
    Owolabi Alaba

    I apologize to all hardworking Nigerians. I am not attempting here to belittle you or our chaos country. Far from it. You are all great and beautiful and hardworking.

    Understand I couldn't sleep all night reading the story here embedded. Even now, I have still not slept.

    Many Nigerians are all over the world as economic refugees because the Nigeria's state was hostile to their personal and economic interests. Nigeria could not accommodate Nigerians' education ambition and pursuit of happiness. It is no secret that the Nigeria's state, whether by acts of willful reckless acts, ignorance, commission or omissions, ipsofacto guarantees your personal, family and collective unhappiness. See around you. Are you happy? Common now. be truthful!

    Our rulers are economic midgets and intellectual moribund. Bereft of foresight and guided by poverty mentality, outwitted by perplexing greed and unbelievable ignorance, the nation is at comatose. In its death bed, the nation has birthed social media governors who wear $2,000 Armani suits to inspect erosion damage in their states.

    Under these predilections, I stumbled on this story. See below.

    I have always searched for and hunt for good Nigeria's stories. Nigeria is my country. Hence, this article, Only in Nigeria.

    A serving Nigerian Governor, named Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State, was central to General Sanni Abacha's successful looting of the treasury of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    President Olusegun Obasanjo made a deal with Bagudu to return some of the stolen funds. As part of the crazy deal, Bagudu didnt have to face prosecution or spend any day in jail. After the deal, Bagudu returned to Nigeria, became a Senator, and thereafter used became the current governor of Kebbi State.

    Only in Nigeria.

    A looter of commonwealth is a sitting Governor of Kebbi State, Nigeria.

    Whither Bandits!

    Only in Nigeria!

    Some of the stolen funds were intercepted by the United States government.

    Buhari needs money to finance Nigerian 2020 budget.

    Meanwhile, Bagudu has successfully sued Nigeria to get part of the money he conspiratorily stole with Abacha. Buhari is attempting to get the money intercepted by the US returned to Nigeria, but must, as part of the Bagudu-Nigerian government agreement, transfer some of this money-money intercepted by the US from Abacha's looted funds- to Bagudu. Nonetheless, the US is objecting to such legal crazy transfer.

    A nation like ours, even in the midst of poverty, decaying roads, hunger, youth joblessness is legally turning looted funds to a successful treasury looter turned Governor. Governor Bagudu is both shameless and crazy. And this Governor is a "honest" muslim.

    Fuelled by his looted funds, I am sure Bagudu perennially prays every Friday in Mecca so that his prayers will get quickly to Allah. That has not been confirmed. I am sure Bagudu is a northern "elder." A "thought" leader. Successful by Nigerian standard. I am sure that Bagudu is addressed daily as "His Excellency." Excellency my ass. You looted your nation's money and became "excellent". That's right. Your Excellency Looter Governor Bagudu. Only in Nigeria

    No wonder, Nigeria has bandits all over. Bandits in Kebbi Sate. If I was in Kebbi, I will be an excellent Bandit!!

    Ladies and gentlemen, let's pray. Please open your eyes while praying. I tell you God understands.

    https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2020/02/21/us-queries-buharis-anti-corruption-credentials-over-bagudus-100m/

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  • Its disheartening that Nigeria has turned to this dead end in the hands of Fulani led Aggrieved People Controversies called APC, it is a common proverb that what an elder saw while sitting down would not be seen by a child who clamped to the tree, those who know the true Buhari vehemently opposed his electioneering campaign 2015.,alerted us that his president would be the greatest mistake citing his ethically, religious and regional biased. But Nigerians said no, now we ve gotten what we deserved, intact, we are ready to re-elect him agian till Nigeria carcasses are berried in the deep-sea, of corruption, we've not seen any thing, " sai baba cones 2023."

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  • Treasury looting through proxies.
    PMB just a common thief like the others.

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  • USA should just keep the money, please don't send the money back to this demonic government. You can wait till we have a credible person in place. PMB has shown that he is so corrupt and not a ruler any country should pray for.

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  • This is clear case of corruption. Concisely, this News item is indicative that Buhari is obviously immersed in and supportive of corrupt practices. Thus, he neither have integrity nor capacity to lead Nigeria.

    This is a government that came to power from the backdrop and promise to end corruption.Nigerians, keyed into the prospect of eradicating corruption, voted PDP out, but sadly ended up in the hands of inherently criminally minded and most corrupt regime.

    The uproar that greeted the approval of 37 billion by Buhari for the renovation of national assembly and another 20 billion for the renovation of national theatre have not died down, now this revelation of Buhari's proposed plan to gift 100 millions of Nigeria's fund to his fulani herdsman brother, Bugudu.

    This APC government led by Buhari is overly corrupt, insensitive, clueless, nepotistic, sadistic, despotic, and tyrannical.

    Let be known that any attempt by Buhari to hand over $100 million dollars recovered from Abacha and released by the US government to Bugudu will run contrary to terms and conditions of the agreement between the two governments and will definitely jeopardize future cooperation between USA and Nigeria as per the release of looted funds.

    Since Buhari's foray and misadventure into governance, Nigeria has come to a dead end.

    What a failed government. What an ethnic leaning president. What a huge mistake.

    What a situation. I take a stroll. Nonsense.

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  • This is insurbordination and insult of the highest form. The US has no moral standing whatsoever to question how Nigerian govt spends Nigerian money or wealth, having allowed Abacha to and his likes to hide Nigerian wealth in their (US) juridiction. US encourages corruption in Africa and in this case, just being hypocritical.
    By the way, Kebbi people voted for Bagudu despite his involvement with Abacha. So, does the US want to seizeor keep the money for what and until when?

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    • You are idiot of the highest order . If the U.S. allowed him in the past and are trying to right the wrongs committed then,don't you in turn expect the same from your government. ?

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  • It is unfortunate the way the APC Government and the President Muhamadu Buhari is said to be fighting corruption in Nigeria. The US Government and the UK government knows more than the Government of Nigeria knows about this shady deal between Abacha and Bagudu. The Federal Government is just deceiving we Nigerians about fighting corruption, it a matter of a thief stole and a thief collected it. Everything will come to an end sooner than later.

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