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Curious Posthumous Deodorization of Abacha’s Grand Larceny

By Farooq A. Kperogi Twitter: @farooqkperogi If you want Nigerians to forgive your iniquities and celebrate you, just die. That’s why Sani A...

By Farooq A. Kperogi

If you want Nigerians to forgive your iniquities and celebrate you, just die. That’s why Sani Abacha, whose unprecedented theft of Nigeria’s national treasury is the stuff of legends, is being rehabilitated through the backdoor by dishonest revisionists.

Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s perpetually narcotized Attorney General and Minister of Justice, described recently recovered Abacha loot as “Abacha’s assets,” implying that Abacha didn’t steal the recovered money but saved it for Nigeria for a rainy day. Although he retracted his statement in the aftermath of withering social media pushback, his agenda was unmistakable: he wanted to follow in Buhari’s lead and declare that, in spite of glaring evidence to the contrary, Abacha didn’t steal.

Now, there’s a cottage industry of vile revisionists in the north promoting the transparently fraudulent narrative that Abacha saved money for Nigeria in foreign banks which his detractors have decided to call “loot”! Can you believe that? People, mostly young northerners who were not of age when Abacha’s evil regime reigned, have even sent me private messages asking me to help stop the demonization of Abacha.

For those who are too young to know, Abacha stole Nigeria’s patrimony like no one in the history of Nigeria. He did NOT save money for Nigeria; he STOLE it with conscienceless glee. It’s distressing that one has to even say this in spite of the clear evidence staring us in the face.

I recall a conversation I had with my friend Aliyu Ma'aji (who is now Ma’ajin Zazzau) when we were undergraduates at BUK in 1994. We were walking a long distance and holding buckets in search of elusive water because there had been no electricity for weeks in Nigeria. Vehicular movements had basically stopped, and people were forced to trek long distances because there was no petrol anywhere.

In the midst of the severe deprivation and sense of existential siege we were undergoing, I said, “Aliyu, do you know that a time might come in the future when Nigerians would celebrate and sentimentalize Abacha as one of the best heads of state we’ve ever had?” Aliyu lost it. “Wallahi tallahi, if any bastard ever says a single good thing about Abacha in my presence, I’d beat the living daylights out of him!”

I wonder what Aliyu feels about all the posthumous rehabilitative narratives of Abacha who literally made life a menacing torment for people in the 1990s, who stole the nation blind, whose son used presidential jets like kabu-kabu and died in one, who murdered innocent people like chickens, who repressed the nation with Hitlerite malignancy.

When Buhari says history will be kind to him, he is banking on the legendary amnesia of Nigerians and their predilection to rehabilitate and deodorize dead political elites even if they were evil or dreadfully inept.

Buba Galadima's Impossible Abacha Loot Logic

First published on social media on May 17, 2020.

Buba Galadima has been quoted as saying the $5 billion Sani Abacha stole from Nigeria's trough was actually "saved" for Nigeria--on the advice of Gaddafi and Sadam Hussein--in anticipation of US sanction against Nigeria so that "even if Nigeria's account was blocked by the US, there won't be panic."😂😂😂

This, of course, stands logic on its head, considering that Abacha "saved" some of that money in the US whose impending blockage he was allegedly plotting against. How do you "hide" something from someone by "saving" it in his house?

Of the $5 billion that Abacha looted and squirreled away --or "saved" for Nigeria, to use Galadimian logic-- in the banks of countries that wanted to "block" Nigeria's money, $3.624 billion has been recovered. Can Galadima help Nigeria recover the rest of the money since he appears to know where the money has been "saved"?


  1. Interesting piece as usual. However, I could not find any evidence of the loot in your write up

    1. Prof does not need a catalogue to proof to you that Abacha looted, we all know this, history never dies.


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