Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said he left over N287bn consisting of $2bn, £100m and N10bn in cash and property, being the loot recovered from the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, in the national treasury.
Obasanjo completed his two terms of eight years in 2007 and handed over to the now late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The N287bn figure was arrived at using an average exchange rate of N125.88 to a dollar in 2007 and an average exchange rate of N247.99 to a pound in the same year.
According to Obasanjo, the funds were remitted to the treasury through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The ex-president’s revelation was contained in the Vol. II of his memoir, My Watch, under the sub-heading “Recovery of looted funds” on pages 494 and 495.
He said, “In total, by the time I left government in May 2007, over $2bn and £100m had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and well over N10bn in cash and properties locally. All were paid to the public treasury through the Central Bank.
“Enrico (Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer) told me by the time I left government that if he continued to get support for his work, there was still about $1bn he believed he could still recover from the Abacha family and cronies”.
Mr. Obasanjo recalled an incident when £3m cash was seized from an agent of the late military dictator by customs officials at an airport in the UK and the Nigerian government was asked by the British authorities to prove ownership of the money.
He said the British government however refused to release the money to Nigeria despite showing details that the said money was taken from the CBN.
“I went to London to have a meeting on another important issue with (former British Prime Minister) Tony Blair and I took the opportunity to raise the issue of the £3m, using the Yoruba anecdote of the thief who stole palm oil from the ceiling cupboard by getting somebody to help him so as not to spill the red palm oil on himself or the floor. The man who assisted became an accomplice. Tony got the message and the £3m was released to Nigeria the following day”, Obasanjo stated.