Thursday, 20 June 2013
Babangida's $12.4 Billion Gulf War Oil Windfall Theft: Court Dismisses SERAP's Okigbo Report Lawsuit
A federal high court judge in Abuja today dismissed a lawsuit brought by a civil society group Social-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP) to push former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida to account for $12.4 billion he reportedly stole from the Nigeria treasury after the 1991 gulf war that brought international oil prices to unprecedented levels.
Nigeria made over $12.4 billion from oil export sales during the period, but the former military dictator stole most of the funds and laundered it.
SERAP and six others had sued the federal attorney general and the Central Bank of Nigeria asking the court to compel the agencies to provide a federally mandated report produced by a former Nigerian economist Pius Okigbo detailing how Mr. Babangida and his cronies fraudulently depleted the windfall.
The verdict had been expected for delivery last week, however, the judge failed to deliver his decision after the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke filed a last minute motion asking the court to disqualify the claimants saying they lacked the authority to question the spending and fraud associated with the funds.
Today, the federal judge Gabriel Kolawole dismissed the case stating that the plaintiffs lacked the requisite rights to demand the report. He then praised the plaintiffs for being "patriotic citizens".