On Friday February 7 2020, the apex Nigerian court also known as Supreme Court declined 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 in a lead judgement read by Justice Amina Augie on behalf of Justice Nweze who was absent.
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.