$322m Abacha loot: 302,000 homes to benefit from July

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The disbursement of the recovered $322million Abacha loot, through Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) to 302,000 poor households in 19 states, will begin in July, the federal government has revealed.
The beneficiary states include; Niger, Kogi, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Cross River, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarrawa, Anambra and the Internally Displaced camps in Borno.
The recipient households, sourced from the National Social Register (NSR), are to receive N5, 000 monthly.
An official of the National Cash Transfer Office, Malam Tukur Rumar, dropped the hints yesterday at a roundtable on assets recovery, organised by the Swiss Embassy in Abuja.
The parley was to intimate both the citizenry and Civil Society Organisations on efforts of the two nations were making on asset recovery after the Post-Global Forum on Assets Recovery (GFAR) held in Washington D.C, December, 2017.
At the Washington forum, Nigeria expressed commitments to beneficial ownership, tax transparency, asset recovery, transparency management of recovered funds and payments to victims of corruption.
Speaking at the roundtable, Rumar disclosed that the programme was designed to also train beneficiaries on livelihood skills, social skills and similar ones that would change their lives for the better.
The NCTO chief similarly stated that the agency had been making payments to the 46,000 poor and vulnerable households across the 19 states since December, 2016, stressing that the number had jumped up to 290,000.
In his remark, National Coordinator, National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mr. Iorwa Apera, said some 503,055 households were already on the NSR register from the beneficiary states, assuring, however, that by July, a social register will be opened for all other states to enjoy the largesse.
The NASSCO boss said: “Some of the states delayed, but the other ones were quick enough to set up infrastructure that allowed us to start work there, but all the states are now on board as they have set up their state operating offices and donated office equipment to us.
“As states come on board, we enroll and so they extend to the beneficiary register, and presently we are generating data in all the states now.”
Also speaking at the event, an official from the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Mrs. Linda Ekeator, told the participants that the recovered loot was invested in the social investment programme, which according to her, enjoined support from the World Bank.
Addressing the gathering, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Eric Mayoraz, told participants that $722 million of the Abacha family money hidden in Switzerland was fully repatriated in 2005.
The envoy said measures were being put in place to ensure his country does not become home to looted funds.
He also said the latest $322 million repatriated December last year, was frozen by the Swiss Attorney-General, which was not domiciled in Switzerland but in other countries, like Luxembourg.
“For possible new cases, the Swiss legislation has fundamentally changed. The law in Switzerland does not allow bank secrecy anymore, and all banks and financial institutions have a due diligence duty to ask everyone coming with money where it is coming from.
“That does not mean that there are no illegal or stolen assets now in Switzerland, but then there is another instrument I signed myself with the Nigerian Ministry of Justice and Switzerland two years ago on mutual legal assistance and this is for new cases.
“Now, this agreement with our own Ministry of Justice and Nigeria is that there will be direct communication and exchange on mutual legal request and we are really collaborating with EFCC and other agencies in Nigeria,” the Swiss envoy added.
On the part of the CSOs, Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev. David Ugolor, assured that they would play their monitoring role to avoid rumour mongering among Nigerians.

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