Lawyers who were said to have been engaged to work for the recovery of Mr. Sani Abacha, the late Nigeria military head of state loot have been secretly paid the sum of 15million USD, an equivalent of N5.4 billion as their legal fee.
Mr. Abubakar Oladipo Okpeseyi and Temitope Adebayo, two Nigerian lawyers were engaged to work for the return of $321 million looted by Abacha that is domiciled in a foreign country, in Switzerland.
They have been secretly paid the huge sum despite public opinion and rejection that the amount is so huge.
This is even as they had earlier requested to be paid $17 million, an equivalent of N6.12 billion.
As a result of public condemnation, the legal fee was reduced to $2 million and an equivalent of N720 million and paid to them
Mr. Adebayo, who is one of the lawyers confirmed payment to TheCable, a Nigerian online newspaper via a telephone conversation.
When contacted for explanations, Mr. Hassan Dodo, the Finance Ministry Director of information, and his associate Mr. Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation declined comment.
A prominent Pastor in Lagos, whose name was not disclosed according to the presidency mounted pressure on Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, the country president to pay out the huge sum to the lawyers.
The Pastor claims that the lawyers had spent huge amount of resources to get the money back to Nigeria, and therefore deserve to be paid.
When TheCable sent a freedom of information (FOI) request to Mr. Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), asking for agreements that were signed with the Abacha family, the Swiss lawyer and the Nigerian solicitors by Malawi’s office, rather than respond to the FOI, he sued the newspaper for defamation.