President Bola Tinubu has expressed his gratitude to France for returning the $150 million that former President Sani Abacha stole from Nigeria.
Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made the announcement on Friday in Abuja.
The President also said that Nigeria and France had signed a 100 million Euro agreement to support the i-DICE programme.
The i-DICE programme is a federal government effort that encourages investment in the information and communications technology (ICT) and creative arts industries.
Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Technology, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs inked the agreement in Abuja.
Tinubu praised Nigeria and France’s improved bilateral relations, saying that this improvement followed his visit to Paris following his inauguration.
“Thank you for informing me about the repatriation of Abacha loot. We appreciate your efficient cooperation in the repatriation of Nigeria’s funds. It will be used wisely in achieving our development goals,” the President assured Catherine Colonna, France’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, who presented the news.
While underscoring the importance of strengthening engagement on both political and economic fronts, the President praised the two countries’ expanding cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture.
Concerning the situation in the Niger Republic, Tinubu, Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, stated that Nigeria was following the situation and exploring all diplomatic channels.
“Leadership is about responding to the needs, cries, and frustrations of the people.” Nigeria shares a border with Niger that stretches across seven Nigerian states, the majority of which are densely populated. As a result, I must carefully and slowly guide ECOWAS so that we can manage our rage.
“President Bazoum, a fellow and democratically elected leader, is being utilised as a human shield.” He and his family may be in danger if we are not cautious.
“I am using all necessary back-channel tactics to prevent carnage in the Niger Republic.” “We recognise our people’s views; they do not want conflict, but it does not preclude us from taking bold and decisive action,” the president stated.
Tinubu stated that Nigeria would continue to galvanise international partners in the deliberate pursuit of a peaceful resolution to the Niger Republic problem.
The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs communicated President Emmanuel Macron’s goodwill and reaffirmed France’s willingness to expand mutually beneficial partnerships with Nigeria across numerous industries.
She then sent the president a formal invitation to the next Paris Peace Forum.
Speaking about the Abacha plunder, the French Presidential Envoy stated that repatriation would occur after legal processes were completed.
“It was a long process, but we’re delighted it’s over.” “Justice may be delayed at times, but this is a very nice achievement,” she remarked.
Colonna also praised President Tinubu’s ECOWAS leadership, stating, “We support your efforts at ECOWAS.” We support you because we believe that constitutional order is a valuable asset for all countries and that democracy must be realised.”