PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari urged the World Bank to assist in the repatriation of $320 million stolen by former military leader Sani Abacha, which is being held by authorities in Switzerland, his office said in a statement.
He said repatriation of additional $320 million in Switzerland, identified as illegally taken under the Abacha administration, would help ease the current economic hardship facing the country.
The president made the call when he met with the Managing Director of World Bank, Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
Buhari assured Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.
“We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds. We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability.
One of the conditions given by Swiss Authorities for repatriation of the funds was that the money should be used for social welfare programs, which is to be monitored by the World Bank.
“We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us,” said Buhari.
“Three hundred and twenty million dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted.”
He also assured that his administration would honour all agreements with the bank that would help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country.
He said Nigeria would welcome greater international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Earlier, Indrawati told Buhari that the World Bank was ready to use its knowledge, expertise and resources to help Nigeria achieve faster growth and development.