As President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at repatriating Nigeria’s looted funds from other countries gathers momentum, the Swiss Government has prided itself as the first to repatriate stolen funds from Nigeria.
Switzerland’s outgoing Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Eric Mayoraz, who made the revelation today in Lagos, said that his government started the repatriation in 2005.
Mayoraz, at a reception for him and a visiting Swiss Trade Delegation at the Consulate-General of Switzerland in Lagos, said that Nigeria and Switzerland had and would continue to enjoy good bilateral relations.
“I am very proud to say that Switzerland is the first country that helped in bringing back to Nigeria all looted funds.
“We were in 2005 the first to repatriate 722 million dollars to Nigeria.
“We were able to repatriate about 322 million US dollars of the looted assets of the former military ruler, Sani Abacha,” he said.
Mayoraz said that his government had during his three-year tenure supported Nigeria by providing humanitarian assistance to victims of Boko Haram in the North East.
The Ambassador also said that the government had been working with the Nigerian Government in the fight against terrorism, as well as integration and rehabilitation of Nigerian returnees.
Mayoraz, who identified some of Nigeria’s challenges during his tenure, however, said that both countries’ economic, business and trade relations witnessed a balance within the period.
The Envoy said that the Swiss government had re-established its Consulate-General in Lagos, as well established an operational Swiss-Nigeria Business Council for promoting trade and Investment between both countries.
The Consul-General of Switzerland in Lagos, Mr Nicolet Yves, commended the outgoing Ambassador for being a worthy representative of his country in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and ECOWAS.
Nicolet said that the visiting Swiss companies were in Nigeria to explore new business and Investment opportunities with their Nigerian counterparts.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed an agreement in the first quarter of 2018 with the Swiss Federal Council and International Development Association on the Return, Monitoring and Management of Illegally-Acquired Assets Confiscated by Switzerland, to be Restituted to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, explained that the instrument would help in the anti-corruption war in the country.