Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, says the newly repatriated $311 million has been allocated to specific infrastructural projects.
According to Shehu, the repatriated $311 million will be used to fund the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways and the Mambilla Power Plant.
Nigeria, on Monday, received $311 million stolen during the Abacha regime from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.
In a statement on Tuesday, Shehu said the fight against COVID-19 would have been tougher if the federal government did not have access to such funds.
“The receipt of these stolen monies – and the hundreds of millions more that have already been returned from the United Kingdom and Switzerland – are an opportunity for the development of our nation, made far harder for those decades the country was robbed of these funds.
“Indeed, previous monies returned last year from Switzerland – some $320 million US dollars – are already being used for the government’s free school feeding scheme, a stipend for millions of disadvantaged citizens, and grain grants for those in severe food hardship.
“Without these funds, the fight against COVID-19 would be even tougher.”
The presidential aide also described the latest return as a testament to the growing relationship between the governments of Nigeria and the United States.
“For years many countries deemed successive Nigerian administrations as too corrupt, too venal and too likely to squander and re-steal the stolen monies – so they did not return the funds,” he said.
“Today, US, UK and other jurisdictions have found the partnership with the nation of Nigeria they can finally trust.”
Restating his principal’s commitment to fighting corruption, he said the days of politicians using government as “their personal ATM” are over.