The presidency has announced that France will be returning $150 million of the Abacha loot. In a statement, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, stated that President Bola Tinubu commended France for their decision during a visit by the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna. President Tinubu expressed his gratitude for France’s cooperation in the return of Nigeria’s money and noted that this progress followed his visit to Paris after his inauguration. Tinubu also mentioned that the returned funds will be used judiciously in attaining Nigeria’s development objectives.
The President stressed the need for stronger collaboration between the two countries, both politically and economically. He expressed his satisfaction with the increasing cooperation between them in various areas of mutual interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture.
Tinubu also acknowledged the signing of a €100 million agreement between Nigeria and France. The agreement supports the i-DICE program, which is a Nigerian government initiative to promote investment in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Arts Industries. The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Technology, Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs signed the agreement at an earlier event held at the Tafawa Balewa House, the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During her speech, the French Minister conveyed the goodwill of President Emmanuel Macron and expressed France’s willingness to expand mutually beneficial collaboration with Nigeria in various areas.
She extended a formal invitation to President Bola Tinubu to attend the upcoming Paris Peace Forum. Speaking on the Abacha loot, the French Presidential Envoy explained that the repatriation was completed following the necessary legal procedures.
“It was a long process, but we are pleased that it was concluded. Sometimes justice may be slow, but this is a significant achievement,” she said.
Colonna also praised President Tinubu’s leadership in managing the affairs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We stand with you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality.”