‘Gen Abubakar Never Returned $700m To CBN’


The underbelly of events that transpired shortly after the demise of Nigeria’s military ruler, Gen Sani Abacha in June 1998, has been unearthed by the former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi.
About 19 years after the unfortunate event that changed Nigeria’s political history and ushered in the current democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999, Bamaiyi recalls in his memoir that former military leader, General Abdulsalam A. Abubakar never returned the sum of $700 million kept for the late Abacha by Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
In his book, ‘Vindication of a General’ which details his roles in the Abacha government, Bamaiyi recalls: “I also believe that the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, contributed to the Abacha loot issue because when he took over as Head of State, the current Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, was brought to me by Alhaji Buhari Bala, who was then the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“He informed me that he had Seven Hundred Million United States Dollars which he kept for General Abacha. I told him that I did not believe him. I then asked him if Mohammed Abacha was aware of this money. He told me that Mohammed Abacha was aware. I then asked him to bring Mohammed Abacha to see me. He came with Mohammed Abacha and Alhaji Buhari Bala, and Mohammed Abacha confirmed that the money was there. I then went to General Abdulsalami Abubakar and told him about the money and suggested we returned the money to the Central Bank from where the money was withdrawn.
“He agreed initially, but later sent the National Security Adviser, General Abdullahi Mohammed, to tell me to keep off from that money. The money to the best of my knowledge was never returned to the Central Bank and only General Abubakar can explain how the money ended up.
“It is this act of returning the Seven Hundred Million by Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu without anyone knowing about the money that makes me have respect for him, as not many Nigerians would have returned such money,” Bamaiyi recalls in his account.
For General Bamaiyi, this sore point, among other contentious issues that later cropped up during the period, further justified the fears and dissent expressed by some officers that initially kicked against General Abubakar’s emergence as Head of State after Abacha’s demise.

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