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Know All About ‘The Abacha Loot’

There is breaking news of law enforcement in New Jersey USA seizing stolen Nigerian money. The actual worth of loot hidden in the tax haven of Channel Islands is close…

There is breaking news of law enforcement in New Jersey USA seizing stolen Nigerian money. The actual worth of loot hidden in the tax haven of Channel Islands is close to $267 million. Estimations show it is a fraction of the ‘Abacha loot’ worth around $4 to $5 billion.

In a time when Nigeria faces various threats on economic and social fronts, this is a windfall. But what are the facts concerning this and why do the migrants have to keep a lookout?

Sani Abacha and the Abacha loot

Sani Abacha was a Nigerian army officer who died of a heart attack in 1998. He was the first of his country to become a full star general without skipping a level. They revere him in the North and scorn at him in the South.

Sani Abacha was also a dictator who seized the power of the country during its democratic transition in 1993. Credits for economic reforms during his 5-year reign angelize him. Yet allegations of money laundering, which appeared after his death seem to be truer.

The former military dictator looted the country out of $3-5 billion between 1993 and 1998. This was during the time when Nigeria was having exponential growth as an oil producing country. He and his son allegedly laundered money through the purchase of bonds backed by the United States. We all know this stash of foreign loot as the “Abacha Loot”.

How is it Not in Nigerian control yet?

Nigeria is reported to have lost  $400 billion to corruption from 1960 to 1999. According to a press report authorities in Jersey have seized more than $267 million from associates of the late leader. This is not counting $550 million that the US authorities have in frozen accounts, pending clearance.

This money transfer from USA to Nigeria is not as easy as it is on FAZRemit. The challenges include an uncooperative attitude of the countries in possession of the loot and strict conditions. The United States and Switzerland have the largest amounts of the loot, yet both attach this loot with strict laws.

The US legislative laws need to have verification showing the money as illegally laundered. They also need strict confirmations of its future safety and accounts of its use for the good of Nigeria. Many fear these same regulations will lead to another loss of the Abacha Loot. Just as Nigeria gave up $480 million of the loot in 2014, they stand to lose this too.

What is at stake?

Any money that a country loses causes its depreciation in the world economy. Especially illegally looted money, or Black money, causes a nation’s economy to be badly affected. Foreign exchange rates against the country become bad and inflation rises. These foreign exchange rates affect any migrant who looks to send money to Nigeria or to their families.

Many are pleading the diaspora to join up in getting these stolen funds back to Nigeria. This returned money could wipe off the major problems of economic instability, food insecurity, and even child labor. Money transfers to Nigeria will get greater value. It will help stabilize the Nigerian households and provide for better futures.

With Services like FAZRemit leading the way of fast, affordable transactions, the value of remittances has never been higher. A better Foreign exchange and all-round growth of the country will only increase it more.

Read: Nigerian families need immigrants to send remittances more than ever

FAZRemit and its Services

FAZRemit is a service that helps migrants in online money transfer from the USA to Nigeria.

While the Abacha loot took years of work to find, a click of a button registers you on FAZRemit. Registering allows the user to send $2499 to their loved ones, instantly.

Unlike the years of legality that takes the Abacha loot to reach the country, remittances through FAZremit get done instantly.

The KYC checks during registration provide the user and their money with security. No illicit activity of money laundering would have gone on with FAZRemit.

While the Abacha loot increases the cost of sending money to Nigeria, FAZremit offers the opposite. We assure the lowest processing fee in the market for money transfers from US to Nigeria.

Maybe, Abacha should have used his loot for the good of Nigeria, just ask FAZRemit’s customer-centric services. But then again, he was a dictator, and we are the Nigerian remitters’ best friend.

Send money to Nigeria, and those who need it most, instead of looting it all up! Join FAZRemit today.

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What are the Causes of Nigerian Economic Problems?

In 2018, Nigeria received the highest amount of remittances ($25 Billion) among all Sub-Saharan countries. The total amount sent home crossed $625 billion. Nigeria has always dominated this market by…

In 2018, Nigeria received the highest amount of remittances ($25 Billion) among all Sub-Saharan countries. The total amount sent home crossed $625 billion. Nigeria has always dominated this market by a considerable margin yet other Sub-Saharan countries like Ghana and Kenya are catching up. It can be estimated that money transfer from USA to Nigeria was worth $6.2 billion in total.

With a $400 billion GDP and receiving a considerably large amount of money inflow,  the nation is still struggling with issues on multiple fronts. Booming poverty level, overpopulation, political instability, and socio-economic problems have been haunting the nation. Even if the money transfer operators and banks try to mend things in the remittance department, the country is far from completely overcoming its economic problems. In this blog, we will go through some major obstacles pulling down the Nigerian economy.

1. Informal Economy Overshadows Formal Economy

Nigerian individuals and citizen groups cannot trust the government, their financial institutions, and above all, their commitment to serve the country. Even at the time when online banking and online bill payment are considered the easiest, the number of unbanked and under-banked Nigerians is still very high.

This may not be the only reason for Nigerians not signing up for bank accounts and maintaining them. But the incompetent government infrastructure cannot cater to the needs of the general population. This is why a significant portion of the population opts for cash transactions.

This analysis also puts light on another side of the story. This means that the total remittances actually received by Nigerian citizens are far more than just the formal estimation.

De-risking was introduced to curb money-laundering but in turn, it caused havoc in the partially formal, and mostly under-banked Nigerian communities. CBN did license a limited number of operators to continue their operation in Nigeria after the social backlash. However, the damage was already done, and it was more like a damage-control move.

Instead of strengthening and guiding the bank account holders, this drastic step severely affected Nigerians, especially those with the lowest income and severe economic problems.

2. Bad Economic Policies of the Government

If corruption was not enough, disastrous economic policies and public disagreements between the Finance minister and CBN governer fuel the problem. Delay in important regulations, especially in the case of oil prices, and putting political interests in front of the national economy has contributed to pushing the Nigerian economic down south.

Read: 5 Ways Buhari killed Nigeria’s economy

Federal government setting absurd prices of basic necessities like fuel has distributive effects on the overall economy. Direct intervention in the Nigerian market is also a major cause of distress. Instead of deciding what an individual can or cannot buy or sell by altering the value of goods and services, the government needs to ensure that it facilitates a healthy competition in the commercial market.

3. Induced Economic Problems

Because of the government’s lack of emphasis on allocating significant budget for education and health, 24% Nigerians are unemployed. This number worsens if we consider only Nigerian youth.

Unchecked corruption in education and health sector is pulling back the development agenda.

A majority of students coming out of Nigerian universities have, more or less, educational degrees in their hands but have very less to no professional skills.

Lack of medicines, inexperienced doctors and inadequate health facilities further leads to more economic problems faced by the poor.

The poor condition of oil fields in the Niger delta directly affects the inhabitants. Oil spillage affects the water, soil, and finally the health and economy of Nigerian agriculture. This has even led to a strong rebellion in the South. Insurgency is a major concern for the nation, and its root cause is the inability to satisfy the needs of the natives.

And when we consider its overall impact on the nation, the situation worsens.

4. Lack of Basic Amenities

Without sufficient electricity supply, and the electric department unequipped with the required skills, impacts foreign investment as well. Constant power failures, inability to nourish talent and to satisfy the natives as well as present and potential investors could be a deciding factor in worsening Nigerian economic problems. But a decisive government with sound decisions can change the tides.

Businesses and investors from across the globe vision Nigeria as a future economic giant because of the huge natural and human resources available at its disposal. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government of Nigeria to take well-calculated steps hereon. So, it would be interesting to see how Buhari’s government performs. Promises have been made by the head-of-the-state but would he be able to solve the economic problems of Nigeria? We will see in the upcoming days.

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