Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami has faulted those criticising him for describing the repatriated Abacha loots as “Abacha assets”.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media, Malami said the media hype over the characterisation of the recovered cash associated with the former Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha as “Abacha Assets”, was needless.
He maintained that the choice of words was deliberate.
The minister said: “It is to be noted that by way of antecedence, I have been consistently describing the recovered funds as ‘Abacha loot’ at several fora during the process of recovery particularly before the eventual repatriation of the funds.
“The point needs to be made that when the seal of legitimacy was appended to the funds by way of repatriation it became an asset in favour of the Federal Government as a beneficial owner of same.
“Beyond the issues of verbal dexterity and vocal acrobatics, Nigerians should focus more on the effective utilisation of the recovered funds in accordance with the content of the signed tripartite agreement in the interest of Nigerians.”
He said that the use of the word ‘assets’ in relation to the post-recovery of looted funds is to qualify same as federal government assets.
Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said: “It is palpable that news about successful return of the looted assets brought nightmares to nay-sayers and pessimists who wanted to frustrate the repatriation process through a campaign of calumny.
“They resorted to rhetoric instead of burying their heads in shame.”
He said that the return of the looted funds demonstrated not only commendable efforts of the present government but also a pointer to the level of confidence, trust and respect the international community accorded the Buhari-led administration.