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Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo The Abachas should be in exile

The late dictator stole so much money that 18 years after his death, the Nigerian government is still recovering millions of dollars stashed by him in various countries around the world.  

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Late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha play

Late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha


Despite the many atrocities committed by its patriarch, Sani Abacha, the Abacha family is still one of the most prosperous in Nigeria.

The late dictator stole so much money that 18 years after his death, the Nigerian government is still recovering millions of dollars stashed by him in various countries around the world.  

In fact, according to a popular tale, a member of the family once said that, despite the mass recovery of funds, they would never be as poor as the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote

Abacha’s regime was infamous for human rights abuses and summary execution of government foes among other things. The man was so evil that when he died, Nigerians rejoiced. Citizens forgot their differences, forgot the barriers of tribe and religion which so often separate them, and rejoiced.

Ordinary people were happy that a person like them died, that alone is an indictment of the highest order.

Yet the Abachas are still treated like royalty. They parade themselves around like they deserve a piece of this country, this country that their father’s evil almost ruined.

His daughter offends sensibilities by calling him a caring and loving man whose memory deserves to be perpetuated. His son wants to be a democratically elected governor, a privilege that his father would never have allowed others to enjoy if he had gotten his way.

But who can blame them? They are beneficiaries of a faulty system, a perverse structure that celebrates evil men and favours them above the kind, the just and the truly heroic.

Abacha has been honoured by the Nigerian government, honoured, that evil, evil man has been celebrated time and time again. There’s a stadium named after him in Kano, a major road named after him in Abuja and in 2014, the unthinkable happened, they gave him a national honour.

The same government refused to honour late Dr Stella Adadevoh who risked her life to save the country from an Ebola outbreak, yet they gleefully and shamelessly honoured a despot with a centenary award.

‘I have received enquiries as to why Dr Adadevoh was not included in d honours list. By law establishing it national honours cannot be given posthumously,’ Doyin Okupe, media aide to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, said at the time.

The government couldn’t honour a martyr posthumously, but they found a way to honour a thief whose name is a blight on Nigeria and its global reputation.

Unfortunately, the high standing of the Abachas is no surprise. In Nigeria, once you have money, you’re respected. It doesn’t matter if you got rich by killing, stealing and destroying, what matters is that you have money and plenty of it.

Even today, known thieves are gallivanting around town with police escorts and receiving titles in church. In fact, a large number of political office holders in Nigeria are thieves, so why won’t they honour their grand patron, the father of thieves himself, Monsieur Sani Abacha?

If there was any justice in the world, no one with the name Abacha would be able to raise his or her head in public, much less seek to be considered part of the Nigerian society. If there was any justice in the world, the Abachas, as a family and as a generation, would be in exile.

But alas, this is Nigeria, in this part of the world, justice is the exclusive preserve of the rich, and the Abachas, rich is their middle name.

Will Abacha's loot ever finish?»

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