Abacha kept money overseas so that Nigerians will not suffer, says Al-Mustapha

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Hamza Al-Mustapha says Sani Abacha, the military dictator who died in 1998, kept money overseas so that Nigerians will not suffer.

Over $3.624 billion looted by Abacha has been recovered from four countries between 1998 and 2020.

Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari said close to $1 billion was stolen under Abacha.

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While speaking with BBC Hausa on Thursday, Al-Mustapha, who served as Abacha’s chief security officer, said the money stashed in foreign banks during the regime was a collective decision involving key stakeholders.

“I have said it that there was a period Nigeria was to be sanctioned. So there were plans to keep money overseas so that Nigeria and Nigerians would not suffer when the sanction was imposed on the country,” he said.

“We gathered emirs and chiefs from the south and from the north, together with VIPs of that time; those in government and those not in government. We met at a place called Camp Bassey Officers’ Mess in the Brigade of Guards. It was there we deliberated on the threat to sanction Nigeria. Many decisions were made.

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“I am surprised by the way Abacha is being blackmailed. I am surprised because when he assumed leadership, Nigeria had less than $2 billion in the foreign reserve.

“But within four years and eight months, he raised it to over $9 billion. After his death, all the billions vanished in nine months.

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“The person that raised Nigeria’s image and enhanced security is now the subject of insult. But those who shared the money he left are still alive and untouchable.”

Al-Mustapha also said the late dictator survived eight coups staged against him.

“Nigerians knew of only three coup attempts against Abacha, but there were eight coup attempts. He died when they were plotting the 8th,” he said.

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The retired army major had earlier said only God would reward Abacha for transforming Nigeria.

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