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Photo illustration by Aaron Leaf

Returning Sani Abacha's $321 Million is a Good Start But Where's the Rest?

How much more wealth belonging to African people is hiding in the web of secretive international financial institutions

The secretive mountain nation of Switzerland, long known as a receptacle for Nazi gold and other ill-gotten loot, has agreed to return $321 million dollars from accounts related to former Nigerian military leader Sani Abacha.


The money was confiscated by a Swiss court in late 2014 in a procedure by Geneva's public prosecutor against Sani Abacha's son, Abba Abacha. The Swiss government states: "In accordance with policy on repayment of national assets taken illegally, Switzerland has agreed with Nigeria and the World Bank to return nearly US$321 for the benefit of the Nigerian people."

According to Agence France Press, Military ruler Abacha, in power from 1993 until his death in 1998, is suspected to have embezzled $2.2 billion from Nigeria's central bank in what the United States has called "brazen acts of kleptocracy".

So where's the rest of it? Not just from Abacha or other corrupt African leaders but also the foreigners, the tax cheats and other neo-imperialists who extract wealth from the continent and its people without offering anything in return. The people who've systematically underdeveloped and destroyed, looted and defiled the continent for centuries.

According to the UN Economic Commission on Africa, "over the last 50 years, Africa is estimated to have lost in excess of $1 trillion in illicit financial flows." This number, about $50 billion a year, is roughly equivalent to all of the official development assistance to the continent during the same timeframe. And it's actually a conservative estimate seeing as it doesn't take into account more secretive flows of money out of Africa like the "proceeds of bribery and trafficking of drugs, people and firearms."

What could 1 trillion dollars of stolen money do for people? It represents half a century of crumbling or non-existent infrastructure—roads, hospitals, schools, sewer and lights—that people have been doing their best to work around. Think of what the famous can-do spirit of ordinary Lagosians could have accomplished with 50 years of running water, trains and electricity.

With the recent trend of big financial leaks like with the Panama Papers and the more recent Paradise Papers the general public is getting a better idea of how the world's elite stash their money, both "legitimate" and "illegitimate." To most of us it feels like we're just scratching the surface but here's hoping it's a sign of things to come.

To the looters out there, we see you.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Trump Plans to Extend Travel Ban to Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, Eritrea & Three Other Countries

Here's what the travel ban could mean for these nations.

On Tuesday is was announced that Donald Trump's administration plans to extend its infamous travel ban to include seven new countries, many of them in Africa.

The countries named on the list, include Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and the Eastern European nation of Belarus. Politico first broke the news.

According to The Washington Post, the move would likely not be a complete ban on citizens looking to enter the US, however it could place various visa restrictions on some government officials and on those seeking certain type of visitor and business visas.

Some nations could also be banned from participation in the diversity travel lottery program, which grants green cards. Trump has threatened to sack the program in the past.

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Kizz Daniel in "Eko" (Youtube)

The 9 Best Afropop Songs About Lagos

Featuring city odes from Kizz Daniel, Wizkid, Teni, Maleek Berry, M.I Abaga, Brymo and more.

The best afropop songs about Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, are as much about the city as a whole as they are about select areas of special importance to individual artists.

Read on for our selection of The 9 Best Afropop Songs About Lagos. Listed in no particular order.

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Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun in "Noyé." Photo: Ben Depp.

The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Makwa x Maraza x AKA, Joeboy, Zlatan, Nadia Nakia, TOBi x The Game, Yilian Canizares, Aewon Wolf and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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A-Reece Releases His Second Song of 2020 ‘Selfish [EXP 2]’

Listen to A-Reece's new song 'Selfish [EXP 2].'

A-Reece has released another song via SoundCloud. "Selfish" is a minimalist song with its beat consisting mostly of gnarled guitar strings and a pulsating bongo drum.

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