We’re working with US to repatriate stolen funds – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (2)

The Federal Government has reached out to the United States of America to step up its assistance in ensuring that corrupt officials don’t get a safe haven abroad for their loot.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made the call on Monday during the visit of a US Congressional Delegation to the Presidential Villa, said both countries were working on a prompt repatriation of the funds.

According to Osinbajo, “we have reached out to the US government with respect to helping with repatriation of proceeds of crime and proceeds of corruption.’’

Commending the support given by the US so far, the Vice President said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration believes “corruption is an existential threat” that must be dealt with at its root.

He added: “We have worked quite closely with the US government on repatriation of funds, we have seen some results.”

According to him, the Federal Government is hoping for more improvement in the process.

“We think that this is very important because what tends to happen with corrupt public officials is that if they are able to find a safe haven for the proceeds of their criminality, not only are they encouraged as individuals but there is the general feeling that if I am able to get the proceeds out of the country I might just get away with it,” the Vice President said.

He added the Buhari presidency’s strategy which is one of “the most effective ways of fighting corruption is ensuring that these proceeds are unsafe and for people to know that they would be found out and they would be punished for it and we would seize whatever profit they had gain.”

Sen. Christopher Coons who led the delegation said the visit was to reaffirm the relationship between Nigeria and the United States, noting that the US has “an enduring enthusiasm and partnership with Nigeria.’’

Other members of the Congressional delegation include Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. Charlie Dent, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Frederica Wilson. They were accompanied by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington.

Also in attendance were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.