From British and Swiss authorities came their willingness to assist NIgeria in tracking, recovery and repatriating looted funds back to the country.
With these assurances coming from the two government of countries that have served as safe haven for Nigeria’s stolen funds, there seem to be no hiding place again for perpetrators of this heinous crime.
Nigeria’s economy has been pressured by capital flights through corrupt practices by government officials and their cohorts in private sectors and foreign lands.
Efforts to recover the looted funds started during the former president OLusegun Obasanjo’s administration during which some successes were recorded. The Swiss government was an ally in this, assisting in the recovery of funds looted during the military era especially late General Sani Abacha.
On Tuesday again, at separate audiences with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Swiss and the British governments pledge their assistance to assist in recovery of the looted funds that would have, if kept in the country, give the economy a lift.
The new British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright assured of Britain’s preparedness to give Nigeria the fullest possible support and assistance in the recovery of its looted resources.
‘‘We are most ready to help. We have a good team at the National Crime Agency (NCA) working with your Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Tell us where and how we can help and we will provide the assistance,’’ the British High Commissioner assured the President.
In the same vein, the new Swiss Ambassador, Eric Mayoraz assured that his country will expedite action on the repatriation of millions of dollars stolen by Nigerian public officials and still held in Swiss Banks.
President Buhari applauded the renewed support from Britain and Switzerland for the recovery and repatriation of public funds stolen from Nigeria.
“I am very pleased and we will get our Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with you to ensure that all the stolen funds are returned safely to government coffers as quickly as possible”.
The President noted that British, Swiss and other foreign anti-crime agencies had already given his administration much help with relevant information and intelligence on public funds that were stolen and illegally transferred to personal bank accounts by officials of past administrations.
The President called, however, for the speeding up of the processes of investigation, prosecution and repatriation of Nigerian funds stolen by corrupt public officials and their accomplices.
‘‘Switzerland and Britain have been very helpful indeed in the recovery of our assets. But we must build on what we have started.
‘‘It is also important to send a signal to the elite that it is no longer business as usual. I personally appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron on this issue.
“He has honoured his commitments to us. He promised to support our government to build a strong and dynamic economy and he has been faithful to his words,’’ the President told Arkwright