President Bola Tinubu has expressed gratitude to France for returning $150 million said to be stolen by the previous head of state, General Sani Abacha.
The President announced the recovery of an additional portion of the Abacha loot, as well as the signing of a €100m agreement between Nigeria and France to assist the FG’s i-DICE program, which attracts investment in creative arts and Information and Communications Technology [ICT].
At a previous event held at Tafawa Balewa House, the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Technology, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs signed the agreement.
President Tinubu praised the improvement in the two countries’ bilateral ties, pointing out that the development happened due to his trip to Paris after his inauguration.
“I appreciate the excellent news about the Abacha loot return. We are grateful for your efficient assistance in getting Nigeria’s money back. It will be judiciously employed in achieving our development goals, the President informed Catherine Colonna, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, who made the announcement.
The President lauded the increasing synergy between the two nations in areas of common interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture, and stressed the need to strengthen cooperation on political and economic fronts.
As Chairman of the ECOWAS, President Tinubu discussed the situation in the Niger Republic and stated that Nigeria is keeping an eye on events there and is looking into diplomatic options to prevent violence.
“Being a leader means being receptive to the needs of others — their screams and frustrations. There are seven states in Nigeria that border Niger and the majority of these states have substantial populations. In order for us to properly control our wrath, I must so lead ECOWAS slowly and cautiously.
“President Bazoum, a democratically elected leader, is a comrade who is being used as a human shield. He and his family could be in danger if we are not vigilant. “I am utilizing all suitable covert tactics to prevent violence in the Niger Republic.” The President declared, “We acknowledge the desires of our people; they do not desire war, but that does not mean we cannot take bold and decisive action.”
According to President Tinubu, Nigeria will keep energizing allies abroad in the relentless quest of a diplomatic settlement to the Niger Republic crisis. The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs told President Emmanuel Macron’s goodwill and stated that France is prepared to increase mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria in various fields.