The Supreme Court on Friday February 7, struck out a lawsuit filed by the family of late former Head of State, Sani Abacha to access some bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg.
The family’s access to the bank accounts was blocked by the Nigerian government in 1999 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 today, 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 entered with the countries by the Nigerian government during the administration of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.