Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The United States Government has said the chief of staff to President, late Abba Kyari played a key role in the repatriation of over $300 million public funds looted by former head of state Sani Abacha.
Kyari died of complications from COVID-19 on April 17.
Assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Tibor Nagy, who said this also described Kyari as a “dedicated public servant and respected interlocutor”.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Nagy said: “Kyari was a valued and respected interlocutor for the U.S. government and particularly for our leadership team in Abuja.
“We appreciate working with him on many important matters, including the return to the Nigerian people of over 300 million dollars in funds stolen by Sani Abacha.
“He envisioned the funds going to three geographically disparate infrastructure projects as a way to unite Nigeria economically.”
Nagy added that the vision of late chief of staff had for the country was “a reflection of his tireless championing of a solid and prosperous future for Nigeria”.
“His dedication to this matter, to fighting corruption, and to countless other investments and policies for the future of Nigeria will leave a lasting impact on your country,” he said.
The US government also pledged to stand with Nigeria in the struggle against the coronavirus pandemic.
In a related development, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, has also expressed sadness over the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari.
In a letter of condolence dated April 21, 2020 to President Muhammadu Buhari, the revered world religious leader said he recognised that “the Chief of Staff is a role on which one depends more than almost any other,” stressing that occupants of that strategic position “need to be trusted…and willing to have your interests most closely at heart.”
According to the Archbishop, who is a personal friend of the President, “The fact that you entrusted Abba Kyari with your messages to me and to others demonstrates the faith you have in him,” adding, “I am sure that his death is a significant blow to you personally, as well as to your government.”
“This letter therefore brings my condolence at the loss of a man who struck me as remarkably intelligent and thoughtful…” he noted, while also extending his commiserations to Mallam Kyari’s family.
The pioneer Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Chief (Ambassador) Albert Korubo Horsfall, also sympathized with President Buhari on the loss of his Chief of Staff.
The Oil and Gas Trainers’ Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) in a condolence letter signed by its President, Dr Mayowa Afe to President Buhari, described Mallam Kyari as “a trusted friend, dependable ally and a man of uncommon loyalty…” while also acknowledging his contributions to strengthening the “economy and the Oil and Gas Industry.”