Nigeria Urges U.S. to Repatriate More Illicit Funds

Speaking at the 6th Session of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, made a plea for increased support from the U.S.
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The Federal Government of Nigeria has urged the United States of America to repatriate more illicit funds transferred from Nigerian officials through its banking system. Speaking at the 6th Session of the Nigeria-US Bi-National Commission in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, made a plea for increased support from the U.S. to recover stolen assets.

Tuggar, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa, emphasized the inadequacy of the $308 million already repatriated compared to Nigeria's total losses from illegal fund transfers over the years. He stressed the Nigerian government's commitment to utilizing recovered funds for the collective benefit of its citizens, particularly in infrastructure development, including roads, schools, education, and other vital sectors.

The tripartite agreement signed between Nigeria, the United States, and Jersey, which facilitated the return of the $308 million, was lauded. However, Lamuwa urged the U.S. to do more, considering the scale of Nigeria's losses due to illegal fund transfers.

The theme of this year's session, "Partnership for Mutual Benefit and Development," underscored the importance of collaboration between Nigeria and the U.S. Lamuwa emphasized the potential for an even stronger partnership between the two nations, which could foster peace, prosperity, and advancement not only in Africa but globally.

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Molly Phee, also emphasized the crucial role of security cooperation in the Nigeria-U.S. partnership. Phee highlighted the joint efforts aimed at addressing Nigeria's security challenges, including terrorism, banditry, and piracy.

On February 3, 2020, an Asset Recovery Agreement was entered into between Nigeria, the Government of Jersey, and the U.S. government to repatriate over $308 million of forfeited assets to Nigeria. These funds were laundered through the U.S. banking system and held in bank accounts in Jersey.

Additionally, on January 16, 2024, a Royal Court in Jersey ruled that stolen assets worth £6.9m ($8.9m) be repatriated to Nigeria. These assets were allegedly diverted by Nigerian government officials in 2014 under the guise of purchasing arms to fight Boko Haram terrorists.

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