After many years of silence, wife of Nigeria’s ex- military leader, Sani Abacha, Maryam Abacha finally talked to defend her husband’s inglorious reing in Nigeria.
Maryam said her husband is a victim of well coordinated but shameful state-sponsored lies with regards to recovered loots linked to the late dictator.
Maryam expressed confidence that the truth about the recovered loots will come to light in due time.
Speaking in an interview to mark the 22nd anniversary of his death, Maryam accused Kano elites of betraying her husband, who died in 1998, despite “his contributions to the development of the state and country”.
“How come this man was not a thief until he died?” she said.
“What is this amount of money after 22 years you say oh we have found this amount of money and we’re bringing it back?
“It is a shame to tell lies on a dead man! It is a shame to tell lies on your leader.
“If he had done wrong, God knows. If other people are putting the wrong on him, it is a matter of time.
“They will kneel down like America is kneeling down now. Anybody that is evil will kneel down just like this corona has come to shut this world.”
She described her late husband as a person who helped a lot of people.
“He worked in Kano and he planted Kano people, but there are people he helped a lot but they are not even greeting me now for no reason,” she continued.
“They just hate us. But why? It is Haram and Allah is watching us.”
Several monies linked to the former head of state have been recovered since 1998.
Hamza Al-Mustapha, who served as Abacha’s chief security officer, recently said the military general kept money overseas so that Nigerians will not suffer.
According to an analysis by TheCable, the Abacha Loot recovered from 1998 to 2020 amounts to $3.624 billion.
In May, Nigeria received $311 million stolen during the Abacha regime from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.
An estimate of $5 billion is said to have been stolen from Nigeria during Abacha’s five-year rule, even as new discoveries of funds stashed abroad are being made.
Buba Galadima, a former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, had said Abacha was advised to save enough money for Nigeria abroad.
Galadima’s claim was also corroborated by Hamza Al-Mustapha, Abacha’s security chief.
According to him, the funds were stashed abroad in the interest of the country and so that Nigerians will not suffer.
While speaking with BBC Hausa on Thursday, Al-Mustapha said the money stashed in foreign banks during the regime was a collective decision involving key stakeholders.
“I have said it that there was a period Nigeria was to be sanctioned. So there were plans to keep money overseas so that Nigeria and Nigerians would not suffer when the sanction was imposed on the country,” he said.
“We gathered emirs and chiefs from the south and from the north, together with VIPs of that time; those in government and those not in government. We met at a place called Camp Bassey Officers’ Mess in the Brigade of Guards. It was there we deliberated on the threat to sanction Nigeria. Many decisions were made.
“I am surprised by the way Abacha is being blackmailed. I am surprised because when he assumed leadership, Nigeria had less than $2 billion in the foreign reserve.
“But within four years and eight months, he raised it to over $9 billion. After his death, all the billions vanished in nine months.
“The person that raised Nigeria’s image and enhanced security is now the subject of insult. But those who shared the money he left are still alive and untouchable.”
Al-Mustapha also said the late dictator survived eight coups staged against him.
“Nigerians knew of only three coup attempts against Abacha, but there were eight coup attempts. He died when they were plotting the 8th,” he said.
The retired army major had earlier said only God would reward Abacha for transforming Nigeria.