No personal fortune has been as widely speculated in Nigeria as Ibrahim Babangida's. Hardly does anyone know the extent of his fortunes; but no one doubts it is very, very much. Babangida is so rich, he has pretty much been buying up political loyalty from millions of Nigerians home and abroad.

Babangida has been stealing money since the civil war, and is always very discreet about where he kept the loot. It has beeen almost impossible for anyone to come up with a total of Babangida's money; no wonder, he has never come up on the Forbes rich list. However, as of 1999, Babangida had $24.67 billion in Western banks alone. According to the Financial Times, in a confidential report submitted to President Olusegun Obasanjo by the Wold Bank, the breakdown of the money traced is as follows:
London: £6.25 billion
Switzerland: $7.41 billion
USA: $2.00 billion
Germany: Dm 9.00 billion

Read the Loot Table at: How Much They Stole

Analysts believe the bulk of Babangida's money is safely stashed away in foreign accounts in Europe and the Middle East, where no hands can touch them in case he is called upon unexpectedly to give an account of his stewardship. Much of his wealth is held in proxy, and his investments definitely extend beyond Europe. Conservatively, we estimate his holdings to be well above $35 billion worldwide.

During the Gulf War in the early nineties, Babangida is reported to have stolen billions of dollars from the treasury. He was also reported to have removed vast sums physically from the Central Bank in the early 1990s, while resorting to outright printing of bank notes to make up for his theft.

General Babangida used the German construction company Julius Berger to siphon a lot of money to Europe; which is why most of his money is in Germany. Julius Berger did all kinds of businesses with him, including purchasing luxury cars for an international conference, in addition to rushing the completion of the convention center for billions of naira. Noteworthy is the “State House” project, through which the dictator diverted funds to his 50-room country mansion built at over N2 billion.

Some accounts have linked IBB to drug trafficking, dating back to his days as a mid-level officer in the 1970s. He was said to have suddenly intervened to remove his predecessor, Mohammadu Buhari, as Head of State, as a drug investigation focused on him. The Buhari-Idiagbon regime vigorously waged war on drug traffickers.

As an evidence, analysts point to the disapperance of drug trafficker, Gloria Okon, which led to the death of ace journalist, Dele Giwa. Okon was said to have died in detention, but reports later indicated she was quietly released by Babangida to be given a new anonymous life elsewhere. Dele Giwa was working on this story when he was bombed through a parcel in a case that not been resolved because of the heavy involvement of Babangida and his top military confidants. Babangida has continuously fought the prosecution of the Giwa murder.

Rich as Babangida is, he has few investments in Nigeria's economy. Where many other retired generals spend their stolen wealth to buy up shares in oil companies, banks, and Broad Street companies, traces of IBB's money are virtually non-existent in the larger economy. He prefers to keep his loot abroad, and use the proceeds to dictate the political future of Nigeria.

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