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Nigerian officials in UAE asked to declare assets

Staff Reporter/Abu Dhabi
Filed on January 24, 2016 | Last updated on January 24, 2016 at 05.49 am
Nigerian officials in UAE asked to declare assets
Buhari and Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met recently to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations.

(Wam file photo)

Nigerian Embassy in Abu Dhabi given March 31 deadline to compile list of all current and former officials with assets in the country..

Nigeria has sought a declaration of assets from its UAE-based officials, according to a report.

Sahara Reporters, an online news agency based in New York City, reported that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has given the Nigerian embassy in the UAE until March 31 to compile a list of all current and former officials with assets in the country.

In a Sahara Reporters story published on January 22, the website claims to have been given a list of prominent Nigerians with assets in the UAE. Among the names included were that of former First Lady Patience Jonathan, former comptroller-general of customs Abdullahi Dikko, former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and former attorney-general and minister for justice Mohammed Bello Adoke.

The websites notes that a source has informed them that many officials are using false names and offshore bank accounts to buy "swanky, high-priced homes" in the UAE.

The news comes less than a week after President Buhari met with His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to discuss ways in which to strengthen bilateral relations.

On the same day, UAE Minister of Justice Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi and his Nigerian counterpart Abubakar Malami signed four agreements, including an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal affairs and agreement on the extradition of criminal fugitives.

Since taking office at the end of May 2015, Buhari has vowed to recover what he has described as "mind-boggling" amounts of money stolen by officials of previous administrations.

Earlier in January, Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed claimed that 55 high-level officials stole $6.72 billion from Nigeria between 2006 and 2013.

"Using World Bank rates and costs, one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 635.18 kilometres of road, built 36 ultra-modern hospitals.built 183 schools, educated 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24 million (Nigerian Naira) per child, and built 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses," local newspapers quoted him as saying.

The Sahara Report story has won the praise from some Nigerians on social media.

"Buhari, keep going after our looters. Recover all and bring Nigeria back to the track of economic recovery," one man posted on Facebook. "Thieves hate you but honest Nigerians love you."

Others, however, expressed scepticism. "Are we still interested in this noise about "fighting corruption" even when Nigeria's economy is collapsing?" wrote another man.

The Nigerian Embassy did not return a Khaleej Times request for a comment on the Sahara Reporters story.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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