Abacha’s son still on trial in Switzerland — Hodel

Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Hans-Rudolf Hodel

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How much of these funds were returned to Nigeria?

Through this mechanism, the entire $700m blocked in Swiss bank accounts have been returned to Nigeria. In the same context, proceedings for support of a criminal organisation are still pending in Geneva against Abba Abacha, the son of the former Nigerian Head of State. As this is an ongoing case, we can give no further information.  

Apart from assistance in the arena of curbing financial crimes, in what other area is your country and Nigeria collaborating?

Swiss-Nigerian relationships have developed very dynamically over the last few years. We concluded a migration partnership  in 2011 and have jointly started to initiate innovative projects such as a project enabling Nigerian expatriates in Switzerland to teach young people in Nigeria in the field of automotive engineering. We also have a “Swiss Scholarship” for young Nigerian technicians to get specialised training at Nestlé Nigeria. Thanks to a pilot project on police cooperation, inaugurated in 2011, several members of the Nigerian police visited Switzerland to enhance operational co-operation with selected cantonal authorities in the fight against drug trafficking. Additional activities such as the capacity-building of the Nigeria immigration authorities, the support for Nigeria in the implementation of a protection policy for internally displaced persons, or for cooperation in the multilateral dialogue and development are also taking place. In 2011, both governments agreed to hold regular human rights consultations and to engage in joint project work regarding human rights and policing. More thematic priorities were discussed and further projects are in the pipeline.

With regards to trade and economy, we are working together to make the Nigerian market known to increasingly interested Swiss businesses. Nigeria is Switzerland’s second most important export market in sub-Sahara Africa. Nigeria is importing mainly machinery, chemicals, pharmaceutical products and textiles from Switzerland. Switzerland is mainly importing crude oil from Nigeria. At the end of 2010, Swiss business invested 255.5m CHF into the Nigerian market, up from 201.7m CHF in 2009. Swiss companies in Nigeria employ about 4000 people.