Buba Galadima, a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, says Sani Abacha, the late military dictator, was advised to save enough money for Nigeria abroad.
He said Saddam Hussein, the late military ruler of Iraq, and Muammar Gaddafi, deceased ruler of Libya, gave Abacha the advice.
Nigeria received $311 million stolen during the Abacha regime from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey earlier in the month.
An estimate of $5 billion is said to have been stolen from Nigeria during Abacha’s five-year rule, even as new discoveries of funds stashed abroad are being made.
According to an analysis by TheCable, the Abacha Loot recovered from 1998 to 2020 amounts to $3.624 billion.
In an interview with The Nation, Galadima, who was a principal official of the Abacha regime, said most opinions expressed by people concerning Abacha are based on ignorance.
“I have a completely different idea about what you called Abacha loot. I know as a fact that at that time, Abacha with knowledge of key members of his government, who knew about this money being stacked out, he was rightly advised by some of his colleague presidents around the world,” Galadima said.
“Saddam Hussein was one of them. Muammar Gaddafi was one of them. They advised him that there was the likelihood that the US could sanction Nigeria and as such he should save money outside that could last the country, at least, six months, even Nigeria’s account was blocked by the US, there won’t be panic.
“I was a key figure in that government. I was one of the so-called Abacha boys if you must know. I was the Director General, National Maritime Authority, whereby export and import to Nigeria, including crude, were directly coming under my desk. So, am in position to talk about Abacha and the so-called loot.
“It is true that some Nigerians believe Abacha was a monster and you cannot fault their ignorance. Yes of course. It is based on ignorance.
“But the truth of the matter is that we are running a constitutional government called democracy. People can hold different opinion provided it does not encroach on another’s liberty. What I have said to you now is my own opinion based on what I knew of the government and the man at that time.”