The Federal Government will aggressively pursue the recovery of additional $321m looted fund domiciled in Switzerland.

This follows the approval of the move yesterday by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, said yesterday.

Last month, the minister announced that $85m had been recovered out of the amount that should accrue to the country from the controversial Malabu oil deal.

He was with Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu and Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.

Malami said: “As you are aware, the Federal Government has been making efforts to recover stolen funds, loot, assets and the efforts have been indeed yielding fruits particularly as it relates to local recoveries. A memo has been presented to council this afternoon by the office of the Attorney General which is intended to shift focus to international recovery.

“Before going into the memo, I think it is important to bring to your attention that recently, about a week ago, we succeeded in recovering 85million dollars relating to Malabu issues from U.K.

“And then, now, there exist a forum, that is Global Assets Recovery Forum taking place in December, in US and we are looking towards that, we are in agreement substantially with Swiss for the recovery of additional sum of 321million dollars.

“That memorandum of understanding has been substantially agreed between Nigeria and Swiss. We intend to now execute or to sign off the agreement during the global forum on assets recovery coming up December.

“The intention of the memo, one is to seek the approval of the council to allow the Attorney General to sign the agreement on behalf of the Government of the Federation of Nigeria. Two, is to develop an instrument of ratification which will now give the Attorney General, the powers to ensure the repatriation of the funds.

“It is collectively agreed upon between Nigeria and Swiss that we on own part should seek the approval of council to ratify the MoU as agreed, and they on their own part too, procure the instrument of ratification that will now give the respective officers of the two countries the desire power and effect to now sign off on the agreement.

He said that the Council had approved the memo.

“The implication of which is that the MoU as negotiated between Nigeria and Swiss has been agreed and ratified by council and then the Attorney General has been mandated to execute the agreement that will see to the repatriation of the 321million dollars and added to it to develop the instrument of ratification that will be expected from both sides of the device which will constitute the basis for the signing of the agreement in December in US during the global forum on assists recovery.” he said

Minister of Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said FEC celebrated Tuesday’s ranking of Nigeria in the World Bank Doing Business report, which moved Nigeria 24 places up from its last ranking on ease of doing business.

He said the ranking was significant because it exceeded the target of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which only sought to move Nigeria 20 places up.

Describing the feat as a turning point for Nigeria in view of the persistent decline in Nigeria’s ranking on ease of doing business in the last 10 years, Enelamah said the ranking showed that the government was moving in the right direction. However, he said what was paramount to FEC would be to see the ranking translate to practical ease of doing business in the country.

He also said FEC commended the National Assembly for passing some bills which enabled owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to obtain loans for their business transactions. He commended states which partnered with the council in the pursuit.

He said the National Action Plans one and two which were recently launched were yet another round of reforms being pursued by the government to enhance Nigeria’s business environment.

Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu said the council approved N40.2 billion for the completion of an irrigation dam in Kotangora in Niger State.

He said the project which had been under execution since 1985, witnessed the upward review of the initial N18 billion required to complete the project to N40.2 after rigorous analyses.

The duration of the project is 36 months.

Adamu said the National Irrigation Master Plan launched in 2016 would guarantee the provision of irrigation for 100,000 hectares of land..

Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh, who said despite government efforts to boost local production, massive smuggling of rice into Nigeria through land borders has remained a great challenge.

The minister also said FEC approved a memo to spray pests destroying farm produce in 11 states in the North using aircraft. He listed the states to include: Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Yobe, Borno, among others.

He also said there was a suggestion to consider using drones to spray the pests which, he said, were coming to Nigeria from neighbouring Niger Republic, noting that using drones for the exercise will be cheaper.

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