Maryam, wife of former military head of state, Sani Abacha, has rejected allegation that her husband looted Nigeria’s treasury.
According to the United States, Abacha stole about $5 billion from Nigeria, part of which has been repatriated by past and immediate administrations, since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.
But Maryam, in an exclusive interview with Kano Focus, to mark the 22nd memorial of her husband’s death, lamented that her husband suddenly became a thief after his death, describing the accusation as a “shame”.
“So how come this man was not a thief until he died?”
“What is this amount of money after 22 years you say oh we have found this amount of money and we’re bringing it back?”
“It’s a shame! It’s a shame to tell lies on a dead man! It’s a shame to tell lies on your leader!”, she stated.
The former first lady also berated Kano elites for betraying Abacha by abandoning his family.
“I hope Kano people will realise that Sani was their son,” she also said.
“And this man was born in Kano in Sabon Gari and later he came to Fagge and grew up but his name is Abacha – a Kanuri name from Borno.
“He has marks, Kanuri marks on his face but he chose to be a Kano man.
“And he worked for Kano and he planted Kano people but there are people that he helped a lot but they are not even greeting me now for no reason.
“They just hate us! But why? This is a very bad attitude.
“It is Haram and Allah is watching us”.
The wife of the late dictator advised Nigerians to value, respect, and love their leaders like other countries do.
Going down memory lane, Maryam said when her husband died, some countries offered to erect his statues in Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but she rejected the offer on religious grounds.
She added: “But unfortunately in our country no matter how hard you work and no matter how well you take care of people, it’s just a matter of ‘you are not a good person’.
“I want the youth not to only know who Abacha was or Maryam is, but I want them to know whoever it is God has risen to the pinnacle of the nation must have something good, must be hardworking, there must be something that is of value about that person whoever he is”.
She admonished Nigerians to teach their children to accept and understand the different cultures and religions in the country.
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“But the way we live in Nigeria, is what is causing all our problems – Oh you are a Fulani, this is Igbo, this is Yoruba – This will not take us anywhere.
“We should all come together as human beings not as Fulani or Hausa, or Igbo or Yoruba or Arab,” she stated further.