The Nigerian government yesterday said although the late military dictator, General Sani Abacha’s regime was one of the most controversial in the nation’s history, he still deserved to be honoured.
The government also explained why the dark-goggle wearing military dictator, who ruled from 1993 to 1998, was among those that received the centenary award for 100 outstanding Nigerians and foreigners.
The government stated this position in the awardees’ brochure where a brief citation was written against each recipient’s name and reasons given why they deserved to be so honored. The citation and reasons where read during the Centenary honors Award night held inside the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The federal government said Mr. Abacha was also a Nigerian soldier and former leader. The government said his regime recorded unprecedented economic milestones in Nigeria’s history.
Abacha’s regime, the citation mentioned, oversaw an increase in the country’s foreign exchange reserves from $494 million in 1993 to $9.6 billion by the middle of 1997; and reduced the country’s external debt from $36 billion in 1993 to $27 billion in 1997.
The government also noted that the Abacha military junta had brought all the controversial privatisation programs of the Ibrahim Babangida administration to a halt, reduced an inflation rate of 54 per cent inherited from the previous regime to 8.5 per cent between 1993 and 1998, while the nation’s primary commodity, oil, was at an average of $9 per barrel.