As the Federal government gear up efforts on ensuring looted funds are repatriated back to the country, Geoffery onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said,the recovered loot is within the region of over $600 million.
The recovered loot the Minister informed is credited to various diplomatic engagements the Nigerian government has held with key stakeholders in the international communities to engineer the procedural steps for loot recovery back to the original country of identity.
Speaking to newsmen on activities marking two years anniversary of Muhammadu Buhari led administration on Thursday in Abuja, Onyeama said, “So,we have recovered a lot from Switzerland,we are also expecting some recovery from the United Kingdom,and the United States .The figures not being in the budget part of the government is difficult to say but should be approaching over $600 million”
While giving further insight on the procedural steps on the loot recovery,Onyeama explained that it takes longer time and expense,while also taking a thorough judicial mechanisms.
He said,”The recovery process is a bit of a moving target,because we have ‘pipe line loot’;because you must note that the key fundamentals is to identify the loot,prove that it belongs to you.As such,it has to be tested through sound Judicial Mechanism and it takes time and expense,in addition to the process of getting it back”
Onyeama remarked further that,”Some countries like Switzerland insist they will not return it,unless they see concrete evident of the plans of what you want to do with it,backed by the World Bank”
Meanwhile,Onyeama said that the President Buhari led administration has also worked consistently in priority areas of security,diversification of the economy and ensure a stable West African sub-region through good governance.
According to Onyeama,”The President Buhari led administration has been strategic in dealing with security concerns in the North-East Part of the country, with a collaborative outreach to Cameroon,Niger,Chad which had been largely successful,while attracting international cooperation”
He said the Muhammadu Buhari led administration also played a key role in Political intervention in the state of Gambia that saw the exit of the former government of Yahya Jammeh.
On efforts to ensure diversification of the economy,and promotion of enabling business environment,he said,”The Presidential Enabling Business Council,chaired by the Vice President,now Acting President Yemi Osinbajo,with the the Ministeer for Industry Trade and Investement has been working to address hiccups encountered by businesses in the country.
“The idea is that from the very moment somebody wants to come to Nigeria,either on vacation, or as a business person,that everything should be simple clear,and smooth.
The first interface is the Embassy,and it must have a website very clear for anybody who is looking for a VISA,and there should be very strict timeline for someone who is looking for a VISA,and within 48 hrs,whithin which VISAS would be issued.We were to write directive to our Embassies about that,and they are complying,the Minister noted.
We are working on VISA on arrival,and we are just putting in place data capturing machines that would make it easier and possible for them to have the VISA on arrival.
He also explained that the Ministry is coming up with a portal where Nigerian business could march-make with businesses seeking for collaborative ventures to ensure expansion of Nigeria’s trade relations.
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA