The government of Ireland has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria to return over N2 billion (€5.5 million) misappropriated by the late former military president, General Sani Abacha.

The asset was found in a Dublin-based bank account and frozen by the Criminal Assets Bureau in October 2014.

It was part of assets discovered during an international operation that led to the freezing of over $1 billion worldwide.

Thursday’s agreement was put into motion by the order of a High Court issued in June 2019 after Nigerian authorities filed an application, according to Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee.

“The return of these assets will be the first time that Ireland has taken such action and will be a concrete demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to international cooperation in the fight against corruption and to assisting countries which have been adversely affected by corruption in the past, and is in line with our international obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption,” the minister said.

Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee [Extraie]Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee [Extraie]

Abacha was Nigeria’s military ruler from 1993 until he died mysteriously in 1998, and is notorious for having overseen the massive looting of the nation’s treasury.

Billions of dollars have already been returned to Nigeria from various countries, including $311 million received as recently as May.