The Supreme Court yesterday, Friday, February 7, struck out a lawsuit filed by the family of late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.
The suit which was filed by the family requested the Apex court to grant them access to some bank accounts located in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey Island, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, where funds looted out of the country by the late general were stashed.
It was gathered that the family’s access to the bank accounts was blocked in 1999, by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in a letter authored by the then Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Kanu Agabi (SAN).
Delivering judgment in the appeal, a five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Chima Nweze held that it was too late for the Abacha family to query the decision taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1999.
The Supreme court upheld the decisions of the lower courts (the Federal High Court, Kano and the Court of Appeal, Kaduna division) on the case being statute-barred.
Justice Amina Augie who read the lead judgement on behalf of Justice Nweze who was absent during the court session said;
“In all forms, with the eloquent submission of the respondents’ counsel, and submissions anchored on the admitted evidence, I have no hesitation in affirming the concurrent decisions of the lower courts.
“Accordingly, I hereby enter an order dismissing this appeal. I further affirm the concurrent findings and decisions of the lower courts. Appeal dismissed.”
The accounts were frozen in the countries following mutual judicial assistance agreements between the Nigerian government and government of the countries where the looted funds were kept in 1999.