Steve Chabot and Chris Smith, members of the United States House of Representatives, have opposed the return of $320m looted by late General Sani Abacha, citing human rights violations by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a letter to US Attorney General, William Barr, dated April 22, 2020, American Principles Project, a political organisation, captured the concerns of the lawmakers.
Signed by its Executive Director, Terry Schilling, the APP said, “Concerns with Nigeria’s behaviour under the Buhari Administration is growing.
“Recently, US Senator (Chuck) Grassley has written to the DOJ noting that, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Nigerians face violations undermining freedom of religion, freedom of speech, due process, and the rule of law.
“The persecution of Christians is especially alarming, as attacks have increased rapidly.’ Similar concerns were also shared with you by Representatives Steve Chabot and Chris Smith.
“Recently, the United States Government concluded that under the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, Nigeria has become a ‘severe violator of religious freedom.’ The evidence to support this conclusion is overwhelming.
“Amnesty International, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, the International Committee on Nigeria, and the International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice have documented that since President Buhari came into power in 2015, more than 12,000 Nigerians have been murdered, of which more than half have been singled out because of their Christian faith.
“On behalf of APP, it would be helpful if you could share with us: Whether the DOJ has repatriated these monies to Nigeria, and if not, when does it plan to do so? Whether DOJ intends to address the questions raised by the members of Congress?
“Attorney General Barr — APP would also strongly encourage the DOJ to undertake an investigation on whether or not the EFCC’s role in detaining individuals who have spoken against the Buhari administration warrants the consideration of sanctions against EFCC Chairman Magu and Attorney General Malami under the Global Magnitsky Act or the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act.”