The United States is set to repatriate over $550 million of stolen funds during the regime of late General Sani Abacha after a case instigated by a Nigerian lawyer was dismissed. It was learnt that a US-based Nigerian lawyer, Godson Nnaka, had requested for $320 million from the Abacha loot from Nigeria.

Justice John D. Bates of the U.S District Court had dismissed Nnaka’s claim and insisted that he was not a party to the forfeiture case filed by the US Department of Justice in conjunction with Nigeria.

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation had filed an opposition to Nnaka’s motion for the payment and asked the court to bar him from filling similar cases.

Justice Bates said that Nnaka did not meet the basic prerequisites to be considered as a proper party in the case and to be paid the amount he requested for as he was not qualified to represent Nigeria. The judge also ruled out Nnaka for the payment since he had not won any judgment for Nigeria.

According to him,  “Neither Nnaka nor his purported clients are parties to the forfeiture matter and neither of them can win judgment through this litigation.

“The conclusion dooms Nnaka’s motion for charging lien. At common law, the charging of lien is applicable to a judgment or decree obtained for a client by an attorney. Until a judgment or decree has been obtained, the right to impose a lien does not arise.”


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